Beautiful and Damned | F. Scott Fitzgerald | Literary Fiction | Talking Book | English | 5/9

Beautiful and Damned | F. Scott Fitzgerald | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 7/9

book 3 chapter 3 part 1 of the beautiful and Damned by f scott Fitzgerald this LibriVox recording is in the public domain a matter of civilization at a frantic command from some invisible source Anthony groped his way inside he was thinking that for the first time in more than three years he was to remain longer than a night away from Gloria the finality of it appealed to him dearly it was his clean and lovely girl that he was leaving they had arrived he thought at the most practical financial settlement she was to have three hundred and seventy-five dollars a month not too much considering that over half of that would go in rent and he was taking fifty to supplement his pay he saw no need for more food clothes and quarters would be provided there were no social obligations for a private the car was crowded and already thick with breath it was one of the type known as tourist cars a sort of brummagem Pullman with a bare floor and straw seats that needed cleaning nevertheless Anthony greeted it with relief he had vaguely expected that the trip south would be made in a freight car in one end of which would stand eight horses and in the other forty men he had heard the ohm forty cheveux eight story so often that it had become confused and ominous as he rocked down the aisle with his barrack bag slung at his shoulder like a monstrous blue sausage he saw no vacant seats but after a moment his eye fell on a single space at present occupied by the feet of a short swarthy Sicilian who with his hat drawn over his eyes hunched defiantly in the corner as Anthony stopped beside him he stared up with a scowl evidently intended to be intimidating he must have adopted it as a defense against this entire gigantic equation at Anthony sharp that's he taken he very slowly lifted the feet as though the were a breakable package and placed them with some care upon the floor his eyes remained on Anthony who meanwhile sat down and unbuttoned the uniform coat issued him at Camp Upton the day before it shaved him under the arms before Anthony could scrutinize the other occupants of the section a young second lieutenant blew in at the upper end of the car and wafted airlie down the aisle announcing in a voice of appalling acerbity there will be no smoking in this car no smoking don't smoke men in this car as he sailed out at the other end a dozen little clouds of expostulation arose on all sides Oh Cripe geez no smokin hey come back here fella what's the idea two or three cigarettes were shot out through the open windows others were retained inside though kept sketchily away from view from here and there in accents of bravado of mockery of submissive humor a few remarks were dropped that soon melted into the listless and pervasive silence the fourth occupant of Anthony section spoke up suddenly goodbye Liberty he said sullenly goodbye everything except to be in an officer's dog Anthony looked at him he was a tall Irishman with an expression moulded of indifference and utter disdain his eyes fell on Anthony as though he expected an answer and then upon the others receiving only a defiant stare from the Italian he groaned and spat noisily on the floor by way of a dignified transition back to taciturnity a few minutes later the door opened again and the second lieutenant was borne in upon his customary official Zephyr this time singing out a different tithing all right men smoke if you want to my mistake man it's all right man go on and smoke my mistake this time Anthony had a good look at him he was young thin already faded he was like his own mustache he was like a great piece of shiny straw his chin receded faintly this was offset by a magnificent and unconvincing scowl a scowl that Anthony was to connect with the faces of many young officers during the ensuing year immediately everyone smoked whether they had previously desired to or not Anthony cigarette contributed to the hazy oxidation which seemed to roll back and forth in opalescent clouds with every motion of the Train the conversation which had elapsed between the two impressive visits of the young officer now revived tepidly the men across the aisle began making clumsy experiments with their straw seats capacity for comparative comfort to card games have heartedly begun soon drew several spectators two sitting positions on the arms of seats in a few minutes Anthony became aware of a persistently obnoxious sound the small defiant Sicilian had fallen audibly asleep it was wearisome to contemplate that animate protoplasm reasonable by courtesy only shut up in a car by an incomprehensible civilization taken somewhere to do a vague something without aim or significance or consequence Anthony side opened a newspaper which he had no recollection of buying and began to read by the dim yellow light ten o'clock bumped stuffily into eleven the hours clogged and caught and slowed down amazingly the Train halted along the dark countryside from time to time indulging in short deceitful movements backward or forward and whistling harsh pins into the high October night having read his newspaper through editorials cartoons and war poems his eye fell on a half column headed Shakespeare volcanoes it seemed that the Shakespeare Ville Chamber of Commerce had recently held an enthusiastic debate as to whether the American soldier should be known as Sammy's or battling Christians the thought gagged him he dropped the newspaper yond and let his mind drift off at a tangent he wondered why Gloria had been late it seems so long ago already he had a pang of elusive loneliness he tried to imagine from what angle she would regard her new position what place and her considerations he would continue to hold the thought acted as a further depressant he opened his paper and began to read again the members of the chamber of commerce in Shakespeare Ville had decided upon Liberty lads for two nights and two days they rattled southward making mysterious inexplicable stops in what were apparently arid wastes and then rushing through large cities with a pompous air of hurry the whimsical ities of this train for shattered for Anthony the whimsical ities of all army administration in the arid wastes they were served from the baggage car with beans and bacon that at first he was unable to eat he dined scandal e on some milk chocolate distributed by a village canteen but on the second day the baggage cars output began to appear surprisingly palatable on the third morning the rumor was passed along that within the hour they would arrive at their destination camp Hooker it had become intolerably hot in the car and the men were all din sure sleeves the Sun came in through the windows attired and ancient Sun yellow as parchment and stretched out of shape and transit it tried to enter in triumphant squares and produced only Warped splotches but it was appalling ly steady so much so that it disturbed Anthony not to be the pivot of all the inconsequential sawmills and trees and telegraph poles that were turning around him so fast outside it played its heavy tremolo over olive roads and fellow cotton fields back of which ran a ragged line of woods broken with eminences of gray rock the foreground was studded sparsely with wretched ill patched shanties among which they would flash by now and then a specimen of the language yokore of South Carolina or Elsa strolling darky with sullen and bewildered eyes then the woods moved off and they rolled into a broad space like the baked top of a gigantic cake sugared with an infinity of tents arranged in geometric figures over its surface the train came to an uncertain stop and the Sun and the poles and the trees faded and his universe rocked itself slowly back to its old usual Nathania the center as the men weary and perspiring crowded out of the car he smelt that unfortunate aroma that impregnates all permanent camps the odor of garbage camp hooker was an astonishing and spectacular growth suggesting a mining town in 1870 the second week it was a thing of wooden shacks and whitish grey tents connected by a pattern of roads with hard tan drill grounds fringed with trees here and there stood Green YMCA houses on promising owaisi's with their muggy odour of wet flannels and closed telephone booths and across from each of them there was usually a canteen swarming with life presided over indolently by an officer who with the aid of a sidecar usually managed to make his detail a pleasant and chatty cynic you're up and down the dusty roads sped the soldiers of the quartermaster Corps also inside cars up and down drove the generals in their government automobiles stopping now then to bring unalloyed details to attention to frown heavily upon captain's marching at the heads of companies to set the pompous pace in that gorgeous scheme of showing off which was taking place triumphantly over the entire area the first week after the arrival of Anthony's draft was filled with a series of interminable inoculations and physical examinations and with the preliminary drilling the days left him desperately tired he had been issued the wrong sized shoes by a popular easygoing supply sergeant and in consequence his feet were so swollen that the last hours of the afternoon were an acute torture for the first time in his life he could throw himself down on his cot between dinner and afternoon drill call and seeming to sync with each moment deeper into a bottomless bed drop off immediately to sleep while the noise and laughter around him faded to a pleasant drone of drowsy summer sound in the morning he awoke stiff and aching hollow as a ghost and hurried forth to me the other ghostly figures who swarmed in the Wan Company streets while a hoarse bugle shrieked and spluttered at the gray heavens he was in a skeleton infantry company of about a hundred men after the invariable breakfast of fatty bacon cold toast and cereal the entire hundred would rush for the latrines which however well policed seemed always intolerable like the lavatories in cheap hotels out on the field then in ragged order the laying man on his left grotesquely marring Anthony's listless efforts to keep in step the platoon sergeants either showing off violently to impress the officers and recruits or else quietly lurking in close to the line of march avoiding both labor and unnecessary visibility when they reached the field work began immediately they peeled off their shirts for calisthenics this was the only part of the day that Anthony enjoyed lieutenant crutching who presided at the antics was seen you Ian muscular and Anthony followed his movements faithfully with a feeling that he was doing something of positive value to himself the other officers and sergeants walked about among the men with the malice of schoolboys grouping here and there around some unfortunate who lacked muscular control giving him confused instructions and commands when they discovered a particular forlorn ill-nourished specimen they would linger the full half-hour making cutting remarks and snickering among themselves one little officer named Hopkins who had been a sergeant in the Regular Army was particularly annoying he took the war as a gift of revenge from the high gods to himself and the constant burden of his/her angers was that these rookies did not appreciate the full gravity and responsibilities of the service he considered that by a combination of foresight and dauntless efficiency he had raised himself to his current magnificence he ain't the particular tyrannies of every officer under whom he had served in times gone by his frown was frozen on his brow before giving a private a pass to go to town he would ponderously way the effect of such an absence upon the company the army and the welfare of the military profession the world over lieutenant crutching blond dull and phlegmatic introduced anthony ponderously to the problems of attention right face about face and at ease his principal defect was his forgetfulness he often kept the company straining and aching at attention for five minutes while he stood out in front and explained a new movement as a result only the men in the center knew what it was all about those on both flanks had been too emphatically impressed with the necessity of staring straight ahead the drill continued until noon it consisted of stressing a succession of infinitely remote details and though Anthony perceived that this was consistent with the logic of war it nonetheless irritated him that the same faulty blood pressure which would have been indecent in an officer did not interfere with the duties of a private was a preposterous incongruity sometimes after listening to a sustained invective concerned with a dull and on the face of it absurd subject known as military courtesy he suspected that the dim purpose of the war was to let the regular army officers men with the mentality and aspirations of schoolboys have their fling with some real slaughter he was being grotesquely sacrificed to the 20-year patience of a hopkins of his 3/10 mates a flat faced conscientious objector from Tennessee a big scared pull and the disdainful Celt whom he has sat beside on the train the two former spent the evenings in writing eternal letters home while the Irishman sat in the tent door whistling over and over to himself half-a-dozen shrill and monotonous bird calls it was rather to avoid an hour of their company that with any hope of diversion that's when the quarantine was lifted at the end of the week he went into town he caught one of the swarm of jitneys that overran the camp each evening and in half an hour was set down in the front of the Stonewall hotel on the hot and drowsy Main Street under the gathering Twilight the town was unexpectedly attractive the sidewalks were people by vividly dressed over painted girls who chattered volubly in low lazy voices by dozens of taxi drivers who assailed passing officers with take any well lieutenant and by an intermittent procession of ragged shuffling subservient Negroes Anthony loitering along through the warm dusk felt for the first time in years the slow erotic breadth of the south eminence and the hot soft mass of the air in the pervasive lull of thought and time he had gone about a block when he was arrested suddenly by a harsh command at his elbow haven't you been taught to salute officers he looked dumbly at the man who addressed him a stout black-haired captain who fixed him menacingly with brown pop eyes come to attention the words were literally thundered a few pedestrians nearby stopped and stared a soft eyed girl in a lilac dress titter to her companion Anthony came to attention what's your regiment and company Anthony told him after this when you pass an officer on the street you straighten up and salute all right say yes sir yes sir the stout officer grunted turned sharply and marched down the street after a moment Anthony moved on the town was no longer indolent and exotic magic was suddenly gone out of the dusk his eyes were turned precipitately inward upon the indignity of his position he hated that officer every officer life was unendurable after he had gone half a block he realized that the girl in the lilac dress would giggled at his discomfiture was walking with her friend about ten paces ahead of him several times she had turned and stared at Anthony with cheerful laughter in the large eyes that seen the same color as her gown at the corner she and her companion visibly slackened their pace he must make his choice between joining them and passing obliviously by he passed hesitated then slowed down in a moment the pair were abreast of him again dissolved in laughter now not such straighten mirth as he would have expected in the north from actresses in this familiar comedy but a soft low rippling like the overflow from some subtle joke into which he had inadvertently blundered how do you do he said her eyes were soft as shadows were they violets or was it their blue darkness mingling with the grey hues of dusk pleasant evening ventured Anthony uncertainly sure he is said the second girl has it been a very pleasant evening for you sight the girl in lilac her voice seemed as much a part of the night as the drowsy breeze during the wide brim of her hat he had to have a chance to show off said Anthony with a scornful laugh reckon so she agreed they turned the corner and moved lackadaisically up a side street as if following a drifting cable to which they were attached in this town it seemed entirely natural to turn corners like that it seemed natural to be bound nowhere in particular to be thinking nothing the side street was dark a sudden offshoot into a district of wild rose hedges and little quiet houses set far back from the street where are you going he inquired politely just go in the answer was an apology a question and explanation can I stroll along with you reckon so it was an advantage that her accent was different he could not have determined the social status of a southerner from her talk in New York a girl of a lower class would have been raucous unendurable except through the rosy spectacles of intoxication dark was creeping down talking little Anthony and careless casual questions the other two with provincial economy a phrase in burden they sauntered past another corner and another in the middle of a block they stopped beneath the lamppost I live near here explain the other girl I live around the block said the girl in lilac can I see you home to the corner if you want to the other girl took a few steps backward Anthony removed his hat you're supposed to salute said the girl in lilac with a laugh all the soldiers salute I'll learn he responded soberly the other girl said well hesitated then added call me up tomorrow dot and retreated from the yellow circle of the street lab then in silence Anthony and the girl in lilac walked the three blocks to the small rickety house which was her home outside the wooden gate she hesitated well thanks must you go in so soon I ought to can't you stroll around a little longer she regarded him dispassionately I don't even know you Anthony laughed it's not too late I reckon I better go in I thought we might walk down and see a movie I'd like to then I could bring you home I'd have just enough time I've got to be in camp by 11:00 it was so dark that he could scarcely see her now she was a dress swayed infinitesimally by the wind two limpid reckless eyes why don't you come dot don't you like movies better come she shook her head i oughtn't to he liked her realizing she was temporizing for the effect on him he came closer and took her hand if we get back by 10:00 can't you just to the movies well I reckon so hand in hand they walked back toward downtown along a hazy dusky Street where a Negro newsboy was calling an extra in the cadence of the local vendors tradition a cadence that was as Musical as song dot Anthony's affair with Dorothy Rea Croft was an inevitable result of his increasing carelessness about himself he did not go to her desiring to possess the desirable nor did he fall before a personality more vital more compelling than his own as he had done with Gloria for years before he merely slid into the matter through his inability to make definite judgments he could say no neither to man nor woman borrower and temptress alike found him tender minded and pliable indeed he seldom made decisions at all and when he did they were but half hysterical resolves formed in the panic of some aghast and irreparable awakening the particular weakness he indulged on this occasion was his need of excitement and stimulus from without he felt that for the first time in four years he could express and interpret himself anew the girl promised rest the hours in her company each evening alleviated the morbid and inevitably futile poundings of his imagination he had become a coward in earnest completely the slave of a hundred disordered and prowling thoughts which were released by the collapse of the authentic devotion to Gloria that had been the chief of his insufficiency on that first night as they stood by the gate he kissed Dorothy and made an engagement to meet her the following Saturday then he went out to camp and with the light burning lawlessly in his tent he wrote a long letter to Gloria a glowing letter full of this sentimental dark full of the remembered breath of flowers full of a true and exceeding tenderness these things he had learned again for a moment in a kiss given and taken under a rich warm moonlight just an hour before when Saturday night came he found out waiting at the entrance of the Bijou moving-picture theater she was dressed as on the preceding Wednesday in her lilac gown a frailest organdy but it had evidently been washed and starched since then for it was fresh and unruffled daylight confirmed the impression he had received that in a sketchy faulty way she was lovely she was clean her features were small irregular but eloquent and appropriate to each other she was a dark on enduring little flower yet he thought he detected in her some quality of spiritual reticence of strength drawn from her passive acceptance of all things in this he was mistaken Dorothy ray Croft was 19 her father kept a small unprosperous corner store and she had graduated from high school in the lowest fourth of her class two days before he died at high school she had enjoyed a rather unsavory reputation as a matter of fact her behavior at the class picnic where the rumor started had been merely indiscreet she had retained her technical purity until over a year later the boy had been a clerk in a store on Jackson Street and on the day after the incident he departed unexpectedly to New York he had been intending to leave for some time but had tarried for the consummation of his amorous enterprise after a while she confided the adventure to a girlfriend and later as she watched her friend disappeared down the sleepy street of see sunshine she knew in a flash of intuition that her story was going out into the world yet after telling it she felt much better and a little bitter and made as mere an approach to character as she was capable of by walking in another direction and meeting another man with the honest intention of gratifying herself again as a rule things happen to dot she was not weak because there was nothing in her to tell her she was being weak she was not strong because she never knew that some of the things she did were brave she neither defied nor conformed nor compromised she had no sense of humor but to take its place a happy disposition that made her laugh at the proper times when she was with men she had no definite intentions sometimes she regretted vaguely that her reputation precluded what chance she had ever had for security there had been no open discovery her mother was interested only in starting her off on time each morning for the jewelry store where she earned $14 a week but some of the boy she had known in high school now looked the other way when they were walking with nice girls and these incidents hurt her feelings when they occurred she went home and cried besides the Jackson Street Clerk there have been two other men of whom the first was a naval officer who passed through town during the early days of the war he had stayed over a night to make a connection and was leaning idly against one of the pillars of the stonewall hotel when she passed by he remained in town for days she thought she loved him lavished on him that first hysteria of passion that would have gone to the pusillanimous clerk the naval officer's uniform there were few of them in those days had made the magic he left with vague promises on his lips and once on the train rejoiced that he had not told her his real name her resultant depression had thrown her into the arms of Cyrus fielding the son of a local clover who had hailed her from his roadster one day as she passed along the sidewalk she had always known him by name had she been born to a higher stratum he would have known her before she had descended a little lower so he met her after all after a month he had gone away to training camp a little afraid of the intimacy a little relieved in perceiving that she had not cared deeply for him and that she was not the sort who would ever make trouble dot romanticized this affair and conceded to her vanity that the war had taken these men away from her she told herself that she could have married the naval officer nevertheless it worried her that within eight months there have been three men in her life she thought with more fear than wonder in her heart that she would soon be like those bad girls on Jackson Street at whom she and her gum chewing giggling friends had stared with fascinated glances three years before for a while she attempted to be more careful she led men pick her up she let them kiss her and even allowed certain other liberties to be forced upon her but she did not add to her trio after several months the strength of her resolution or rather the poignant expediency of her fears was worn away she grew Restless drowsing there out of life and time while the summer months faded the soldier she met were either obviously below her or less obviously above her in which case they desired only to use her they were Yankees harsh and ungracious they swarmed in large crowds and then she met Anthony on that first evening he had been little more than a pleasantly unhappy face a voice the means with which to pass an hour but when she kept her engagement with him on Saturday she regarded him with consideration she liked him unknowingly she saw her own tragedies mirrored in his face again they went to the movies again they wandered along the shadowy scented streets hand-in-hand his time I'm speaking a little in hushed voices they passed through the gates up toward the little porch I can stay a while can I Shh she whispered we've got to be very quiet mother sits up reading snappy stories in confirmation he heard the faint crackling inside as a page was turned the open shutter slits emitted horizontal rods of light that fell in thin parallels across Dorothy skirt the street was silent safe for a group on the steps of a house across the way who from time to time raised their voices in a soft bantering song when you wake you shall have all the pretty houses then as though it had been waiting on a nearby roof for their arrival the moon came slanting suddenly through the vines and turned the girls face to the color of white roses Anthony had a start of memory so vivid that before his closed eyes there formed a picture distinct as a flash back on a screen a spring night of thaw said out of time in a half forgotten winter five years before another face radiant flower like upturned to lights as transforming as the Stars ah la belle Dame sans merci who lived in his heart made known to him in transitory fading splendor by dark eyes in the ritz-carlton by a shadowy glance from a passing carriage in the Bois de Boulogne but those nights were only part of a song a remembered glory here again were the faint winds the illusions the eternal present with its promise of romance oh she whispered do you love me do you love me the spell was broken the drifted fragments of the stars became only light the singing down the street diminished to a monotone to the whimper of locusts in the grass with almost a sigh he kissed her fervent mouth while her arms crept up about his shoulders the man-at-arms as the week's dried up and blew away the range of Anthony's travels extended until he grew to comprehend the camp in its environment for the first time in his life he was in constant personal contact with the waiters to whom he had given tips the chauffeurs who had touched their hats to him the carpenters plumbers barbers and farmers who had previously been remarkable only in this subservience of their professional genuflect during his first two months in camp he did not hold ten minutes consecutive conversation with a single man on the service record his occupation stood as student on the original questionnaire he had prematurely written author but when men in his company asked his business he commonly gave it as bank clerk had he told the truth that he did no work they would have been suspicious of him as a member of the leisure class his platoon sergeant Pape Donnelly was a scraggly old soldier worn thin with drink in the past he had spent unnumbered weeks in the guardhouse but recently thanks to the drill master famine he had been elevated to his present pinnacle his complexion was full of shell holes it bore an unmistakable resemblance to those aerial photographs of the battlefield at Blanc once a week he got drunk downtown on white liquor returned quietly to camp and collapsed upon his bunk joining the company at revelry looking more than ever like a white mask of death he nursed the astounding delusion that he was astutely slipping it over on the government he had spent 18 years in its service at a minut wage and he was soon to retire here he usually winked on the impressive income of $55 a month he looked upon it as a gorgeous joke that he had played upon the dozens who had bullied and scorned him since he was a Georgia country boy of 19 at present there were but two lieutenants Hopkins and the poppy Turk retching the latter was considered a good fellow and a fine leader until a year later when he disappeared with a mess fund of $1,100 and like so many leaders proved exceedingly difficult to follow eventually there was captain Dunning god of this brief but self-sufficing microcosm he was a reserve officer nervous energetic and enthusiastic the latter quality indeed often took material form and was visible as fine froth in the corners of his mouth like most executives he saw his charges strictly from the front and to his hopeful eyes his command seemed just such an excellent unit as such an excellent war deserved for all his anxiety and absorption he was having the time of his life Baptiste the little Sicilian of a train fell foul of him the second week of drill the captain had several times ordered the man to be clean-shaven when they fell in each morning one day there was disclosed an alarming breach of this rule surely a case of Teutonic connivance during the night four men had grown hair upon their faces the fact that three of the four understood a minimum of English made a practical object lesson only the more necessary so captain Dunning resolutely sent a volunteer barber back to the company street for a razor whereupon for the safety of democracy a half ounce of hair was scraped dry from the cheeks of three Italians and one pole outside the world of the company there appeared from time to time the colonel a heavy man with snarling teeth who circumnavigated the battalion drill field upon a handsome black horse he was a West pointer and mimetic Lee a gentleman he had a dowdy wife and a dowdy mind had spent much of his time in town taking advantage of the Army's lately exalted social position last of all was the general who traversed the roads of the camp preceded by his flag a figure so austere so removed so magnificent as to be scarcely comprehensible December cool winds at night now and damp chilly morning's on the drill grounds as the heat faded Anthony found himself increasingly glad to be alive renewed strangely through his body he worried little and existed in the present with a sort of animal content it was not that Gloria or the life that Gloria represented was less often in his thoughts it was simply that she became day by day less real less vivid for a week they had corresponded passionately almost hysterically then by an unwritten agreement they had ceased to write more than twice and then once a week she was bored she said if his Brigade was to be there a long time she was coming down to join him mr. hate was going to be able to submit a stronger brief than he had expected but doubted that the appealed case would come up until late spring Muriel was in the city doing Red Cross work and they went out together rather often what would Anthony think if she went into the Red Cross trouble was she had heard that she might have to bathe Negroes in alcohol and after that she hadn't felt so patriotic the city was full of soldiers and she's seen a lot of boys she hadn't laid eyes on for years Anthony did not want her to come South he told himself that this was for many reasons he needed a rest from her and she from him she would be bored beyond measure in town and she would be able to see Anthony for only a few hours each day but in his heart he feared that it was because he was attracted to Dorothy as a matter of fact he lived in terror that Gloria should learn by some chance or intention of the relation he had formed by the end of a fortnight the entanglement began to give him moments of misery at his own faithlessness nevertheless as each day ended he was unable to withstand the lure that would draw him irresistible out of his tent and over to the telephone at the YMCA dot yes I may be able to get in tonight I'm so glad do you want to listen to my splendid eloquence for a few starry hours oh you funny for an instant he had a memory of five years before of Geraldine then I'll arrive about 8:00 at 7:00 he would be in a jitney bound for the city where hundreds of little southern girls were waiting on moonlit porches for their lovers he would be excited already for her warm retarded kisses for the amazed quietude of a glance as she gave him glances nearer to worship that any he had ever inspired Gloria and he had been equals giving without thought of thanks or obligation to this girl his very caresses were an inestimable boon crying quietly she had confessed to him that he was not the first man in her life there had been one other he gathered that the affair had no sooner commenced than it had been over indeed so far as she was concerned she spoke the truth she had forgotten the clerk the naval officer the clothiers son forgotten her vividness of emotion which is true forgetting she knew that in some opaque and shadowy existence someone had taken her it was as though it had occurred in sleep almost every night Anthony came to town it was too cool now for the porch so her mother surrendered to them the tiny sitting room with its dozens of cheaply framed chromos its yard upon yard of decorative fringe and its thick atmosphere of several decades in the proximity of the kitchen they would build a fire then happily inexhaustibly she would go about the business of love each evening at 10:00 she would walk with him to the door her black hair in disarray her face pale without cosmetics paler still under the whiteness of the moon as a rule it would be bright and silver outside now and then there was a slow warm rain too indolent almost to reach the ground say you love me she would whisper why of course you sweet baby am i a baby this most wistfully just a little baby shear a glee new of Gloria it gave her pain to think of it so she imagined her to be haughty and proud and cold she had decided that Gloria must be older than Anthony and that there was no love between husband and wife sometimes she let herself dream that after the war Anthony would get a divorce and they would be married but she never mentioned this to Anthony she scarcely knew why she shared his company's idea that he was a sort of bank clerk she thought that he was respectable and poor she would say if I had some money darling I'd give every bit of it to you I'd like to have about $50,000 I suppose that'd be plenty agreed Anthony in her letter that day Gloria had written I suppose if we could settle for a million it would be better to tell mr. hate to go ahead and settle but it had seemed a pity we could have an automobile exclaim dot in a final burst of triumph end of book 3 chapter 1 part 1 book 3 chapter 1 part 2 of the beautiful and Damned by f scott Fitzgerald this LibriVox recording is in the public domain an impressive occasion captain Dunning prided himself on being a great reader of character half an hour after meeting a man he was accustomed to place him in one of a number of astonishing categories fine man good man smart fellow theorize ER poet and worthless one day early in February he caused Anthony to be summoned to his presence in the orderly tent patch he said sententiously I've had my eye on you for several weeks Anthony stood erect and motionless and I think you've got the makings of a good soldier he waited for the warm glow which this would naturally arouse to cool and then continued this is no child's play he said narrowing his brows Anthony agreed with a melancholy no sir it's a man's game and we need leaders then the climax Swift sure and electric patch I'm going to make you a corporal at this point Anthony should have staggers slightly backward overwhelmed he was to be one of the quarter million selected for that consummate trust he was going to be able to shout the technical phrase follow me to seven other frightened men you seem to be a man of some education said captain Dunning yes sir that's good that's good education is a great thing but don't let it go to your head keep on the way you're doing and you'll be a good soldier with these parting words lingering in his ears corporal patch saluted executed a right about-face and left the tent though the conversation amused Anthony it did generate the idea that life would be more amusing as a sergeant or should he find a less exacting medical examiner as an officer he was little interested in the work which seemed to bolide the Army's boasted gallantry at the inspections one did not dress up to look well one dressed up to keep from looking badly but as winter wore away the short snowless winter marked by damp nights and cool rainy days he marveled at how quickly the system had grasped him he was a soldier all who were not soldiers were civilians the world was divided primarily into those two classifications it occurred to him that all strongly accentuated classes such as the military divided men into two kinds their own kind and those without to the clergyman there were the clergy in the lady to the Catholic there were Catholics and non-catholics to the Negro there were blacks and whites to the prisoner there were the imprisoned and the free and to the sick man there were this sick and the well so without thinking of it once in his lifetime he had been a civilian a layman a non Catholic a Gentile white free and well as the American troops were poured into the French and British trenches he began to find the names of many Harvard men among the casualties recorded in the army and navy journal but for all the sweat and blood the situation appeared unchanged and he saw no prospect of the war's ending in the perceptible future in the old chronicles the right wing of one army always defeated the left wing of the other the left wing being meanwhile vanquished by the enemy's right after that the mercenaries fled it had been so simple in those days almost as if pre-arranged gloria wrote that she was reading a great deal what a mess they had made of their affair she said she had so little to do now that she spent her time imagining how differently things might have turned out her whole environment appeared insecure and a few years back she had seemed to hold all the strings in her own little hand in June her letters grew hurried and less frequent she suddenly ceased to write about coming south defeat March in the country around was rare with jasmine and John quills and patches of violets in the warming grass afterward he remembered especially one afternoon of such a fresh and magic glamour that as he stood in the rifle pit marking targets he recited Atalanta in Caledon to an uncomprehending pole his voice mingling with the Rip sing and splatter of the bullets over hit when the hounds of spring Spang our own winter's traces whirl the mother of months Hey come to Mar three in town the streets were in a sleepy dream again and together Anthony and dot idled in their own tracks of the previous autumn until he began to feel a drowsy attachment for this south a South had seemed more of Algiers than of Italy with faded aspirations pointing back over innumerable generations to some warm primitive Nirvana without hope or care here there was an inflection of cordiality of comprehension in every voice life plays the same lovely and agonizing joke on all of us they seemed to say in their plaintive pleasant cadence in the rising inflection terminating on an unresolved minor he liked his barber shop where he was high Corporal to a pale emaciate a young man who shaved him and pushed a cool vibrating machine endlessly over his insatiable head he liked Johnston's Gardens were they danced we're a tragic Negro maid yearning aching music on a saxophone until the garish Hall became an enchanted jungle of barbaric rhythms and smoky laughter we're to forget the uneventful passage of time upon Dorothy soft sighs and tender whisperings was the consummation of all aspiration of all content there was an undertone of sadness in her character a conscious evasion of all except the pleasurable minutiae of life her violet eyes would remain for hours apparently insensate as thoughtless and reckless she basked like a cat in the Sun he wondered what the tired spiritus mother thought of them and whether in her moments of uttermost cynicism she ever guessed at their relationship on Sunday afternoons they walked along the countryside resting at intervals on the dry moss in the outskirts of a wood here the birds had gathered and the clusters of violets and white dog would hear the horror trees shone crystalline and cool oblivious to the intoxicating heat that waited outside here he would talk intermittently in a sleepy monologue in a conversation of no significance of no replies July came scorching down captain Dunning was ordered to detail one of his men to learn blacksmithing the regiment was filling up to war strength and he needed most of his veterans for drill masters so he selected the little Italian Baptiste whom he could most easily spare little Baptiste had never had anything to do with horses his fear made matters worse he reappeared in the orderly room one day and told captain Dunning that he wanted to die if he couldn't be relieved the horses kicked at him he said he was no good at the work finally he fell on his knees and besought captain Dunning in a mixture of broken English and scriptural Italian to get him out of it he had not slept for three days monstrous stallions reared and converted through his dreams captain Dunning reproved the company clerk who had burst out laughing and told Baptiste he would do what he could but when he thought it over he decided he couldn't spare a better man little Baptiste went from bad to worse the horses seemed to divine his fear and take every advantage of it two weeks later a great black mare crushed his skull in with her hoofs while he was trying to lead her from her stall in mid-july came rumors and then orders that concerned a change of camp the brigade was to move to an empty cantonment a hundred miles farther south there to be expanded into a division at first the men thought they were departing for the trenches and all evening little groups jabbered in the company Street shouting to each other in swaggering exclamations sure we are when the truth leaked out it was rejected indignantly as a blind to conceal their real destination they reveled in their own importance that night they told their girls in town that they were going to get the Germans Anthony circulated for a while among the groups then stopping a jitney rode down to tell dot that he was going away she was waiting on the dark verandah in cheap white dress that accentuated the youth and softness of her face oh she whispered I've wanted you so honey all this day I have something to tell you she drew him down beside her on the swinging seat not noticing his ominous tone tell me we're leaving next week her arms seeking his shoulders remained poised upon the dark air her chin tipped up when she spoke the softness was gone from her voice leaving for France no less luck than that leaving for some darn camping Mississippi she shut her eyes and he could see that the lids were trembling dear little dot life is so damned hard she was crying upon his shoulder so damned hard so damned hard he repeated aimlessly it just hurts people and hurts people until finally it hurts them so that they can't be heard ever anymore that's the last and worst thing it does frantic wild with anguish she strained him to her breast Oh God she whispered brokenly you can't go away from me I'd die he was finding it impossible to pass off his departure as a common impersonal blow he was too near to her to do more than repeat poor little dot poor little dot and then what she demanded wearily what do you mean you were my whole life that's all I'd die for you right now if you said so I'd get a knife and kill myself you can't leave me here her tone frightened him these things happen he said evenly then I'm going with you tears were streaming down her cheeks her mouth was trembling in an ecstasy of grief and fear sweet he muttered sentimentally sweet little girl don't you see we just be putting off what's bound happen I'll be going to France in a few months she leaned away from him and clinching her fists lifted her face toward the sky I want to die she said as if molding each word carefully in her heart dot he whispered uncomfortably you'll forget things are sweeter when they're lost I know because once I wanted something and got it it was the only thing I ever wanted badly dot and when I got it it turned to dust in my hands all right absorbed in himself he continued I have often thought that if I hadn't got what I wanted things might have been different with me I might have found something in my mind and enjoyed putting it in circulation I might have been content with the work of it and had some sweet vanity out of the success I suppose that at one time I could have had anything I wanted within reason but that was the only thing I ever wanted with any fervor God and that taught me you can't have anything you can't have anything at all because desire just cheats you it's like a sunbeam skipping here and there about a room it stops and gild some inconsequential object and we poor fools try to grasp it but when we do the Sunbeam moves on to something else and you've got the inconsequential part but the glitter that made you want it is gone he broke off uneasily she had risen and was standing dry eyed picking little leaves from a dark vine dot go away she said coldly what why I don't want just words if that's all you have for me you better go why dot what's death to me it's just a lot of words to you you put him together so pretty I'm sorry I was talking about you dot go away from here he approached her with arms outstretched but she held him away you don't want me to go with you she said evenly maybe you're going to meet that that girl she could not bring herself to say wife how do I know well then I reckon you're not my fellow anymore so go away for a moment while conflicting warnings and desires prompted Anthony it seemed one of those rare times when he would take a step prompted from within he hesitated then a wave of weariness broke against him it was too late everything was too late for years now he had dreamed the world away basing his decisions upon emotions unstable as water the little girl in the white dress dominated him as she approached Beauty in the hard symmetry of her desire the fire blazing in her dark and injured heart seemed to glow around her like a flame with some profound and uncharted pride she had made herself remote and so achieved her purpose I didn't mean to seem so callous dot it don't matter the fire rolled over Anthony something wrenched at his bowels and he stood there helpless and beaten come with me dot little loving dot oh come with me I couldn't leave you now with a sob she wound her arms around him and let him support her waits while the moon at its perennial labor of covering the bad complexion of the world showered its elicit honey over the drowsy Street the catastrophe early September in camp Boone Mississippi The Darkness alive with insects beeped in upon the mosquito netting beneath the shelter of which Anthony was trying to write a letter and intermittent chatter over a poker game was going on in the next tent and outside a man was strolling up the company Street singing a current bit of dog roll about Caty with an effort Anthony hoisted himself to his elbow and pencil in hand looked down at his blank sheet of paper then omitting any heading he began I can't imagine what the matter is Gloria I haven't had a line from you for two weeks and it's only natural to be worried he threw this away with a disturbed grunt and began again I don't know what toothache Coria your last letter short cold without a word of affection or even a decent account of what you've been doing came two weeks ago it's only natural that I should wonder if your love for me isn't absolutely dead it seems that you'd at least keep me from worry again he crumpled the page and tossed it angrily through a tear in the ted wall realizing simultaneously that he would have to pick it up in the morning he felt disinclined to try again he could get no warmth into the lines only a persistent jealousy and suspicion since midsummer these discrepancies in Gloria's correspondence had grown more and more noticeable at first he has scarcely perceived them he was so inured to the perfunctory dearest and darlings scattered through her letters that he was oblivious to their presence or absence but in this last fortnight he had become increasingly aware that there was something amiss he had sent her a night letter saying that he had passed his examinations for an officer's training camp and expected to leave for Georgia shortly she had not answered he had wired again when he received no word he imagined that she might be out of town but it occurred and recurred to him that she was not out of town and a series of destroyed imaginings began to plague him supposing Gloria bored and restless had found someone even as he had the thought terrified him with its possibility it was chiefly because he had been so sure of her personal integrity that he had considered her so sparingly during the year and now as a doubt was born the old angers the rages of possession swarmed back a thousandfold what more natural than that she should be in love again he remembered the Gloria who promised that should she ever want anything she would take it insisting that since she would act entirely for her own satisfaction she could go through such an affair unsmirched it was only the effect on a person's mind that counted anyhow she said and her reaction would be the masculine one of satiation and faint dislike but that had been when they were first married later with the discovery that she could be jealous of Anthony she had outwardly at least changed her mind there were no other men in the world for her this he had known only to Shirley perceiving that a certain fastidiousness would restrain her he had grown lacks in preserving the completeness of her love which after all was the keystone of the entire structure meanwhile all through the summer he had been maintaining dot in a boardinghouse downtown to do this it had been necessary to write to his broker for money Dodd had covered her journey south by leaving her house a day before the brigade broke camp informing her mother in a note that she had gone to New York on the evening following Anthony had called as though to see her mrs. ray Croft was in a state of collapse and there was a policeman in the parlour a questionnaire had ensued from which Anthony had extricated himself with some difficulty in September with his suspicions of Gloria the company of dot had become tedious then almost intolerable he was nervous and irritable from lack of sleep his heart was sick and afraid three days ago he had gone to captain Dunning and asked for a furlough only to be met with benignant procrastination the division was starting overseas while Anthony was going to an officer's training camp what furloughs could be given must go to the men who were leaving the country upon this refusal Anthony had started to the telegraph office intending to wire Gloria to come south he reached the door and receded despairingly seeing the utter impracticality of such a move then he had spent the evening quarreling irritably with dot and returned to camp morose and angry with the world there had been a disagreeable scene in the midst of which she had precipitately departed what was to be done with her did not seem to concern him finally at present he was completely absorbed in the disheartening silence of his wife the flap of the tent made a sudden triangle back upon itself and a dark head appeared against the night sergeant the Pech the accent was Italian and Anthony saw by the belt that the man was a headquarters orderly watch me lady call up headquarters ten minutes ago say she half speak with you very important Anthony swept aside the mosquito netting and stood up it might be a wire from Gloria telephoned over she say to get you she called again ten o'clock all right thanks he picked up his hat and in a moment was striding beside the orderly through the hot almost suffocating darkness over in the headquarters Shack he saluted a dozing knight service officer sit down and wait suggested the lieutenant nonchalantly girls seemed awful anxious to speak to you Anthony's hopes fell away thank you very much sir and as the phone squeaked on the sidewall he knew who was calling this is dot came an unsteady voice I've got to see you dot I told you I couldn't get down for several days I've got to see you tonight it's important it's too late he said coldly it's ten o'clock and I have to be in camp at eleven all right there was so much wretchedness compressed into the two words that Anthony felt a measure of compunction what's the matter I want to tell you goodbye oh don't be a little idiot he exclaimed but his spirits rose what luck if she should leave town this very night what a burden from his soul but he said you can't possibly leave before tomorrow out of the corner of his eye he saw the night service officer regarding him quizzically then startling Lee came dots next words I don't mean leave that way Anthony's hand clutched the receiver fiercely he felt his nerves turning cold as if the heat was leaving his body what then quickly in a wild broken voice he heard goodbye Oh goodbye calop she had hung up the receiver with a sound that was half a gasp half a cry Anthony hurried from the headquarters building outside under the stars that dripped like silver tassels through the trees of the little Grove he stood motionless hesitating had she meant to kill herself oh the little fool he was filled with bitter hate toward her in this daniel mom he found it impossible to realize that he had ever begun such an entanglement such a mess assorted Milosh of worry and pain he found himself walking slowly away repeating over and over that it was futile to worry he had best go back to his tent and sleep he needed sleep God would he ever sleep again his mind was in a vast clamor and confusion as he reached the road he turned around in a panic and began running not toward his company but away from it men were returning now he could find a taxicab after a minute to yellow eyes appeared around a bend desperately he ran toward them jadi jitney it was an empty Ford I want to go to town cost you a dollar all right if you'll just hurry after an interminable time he ran up the steps of a dark ramshackle little house and through the door almost knocking over an immense negress who was walking candle in hand along the hall where's my wife he cried wildly she gone to bed up the stairs three at a time down the creaking passage the room was dark and silent and with trembling fingers he struck a match to wide eyes looked up at him from a wretched ball of clothes on the bed ah I knew you'd come she murmured brokenly Anthony grew cold with anger so it was just a plan to get me down here get me in trouble he said god damn it you've shouted wolf once too often she regarded him pitifully ahead to see you I couldn't have lived oh I had to see you he sat down on the side of the bed and slowly shook his head you're no good he said decisively talking unconsciously as Gloria might have talked to him this sort of thing isn't fair to me you know come closer whatever he might say dot was happy now he cared for her she had brought him to her side Oh God said Anthony hopelessly as weariness rolled along its inevitable wave his anger subsided receded vanished he collapsed suddenly fell sobbing beside her on the bed oh my darling she begged him don't cry oh don't cry she took his head upon her breast and soothed him mingled her happy tears with the bitterness of his her hand played gently with his dark hair I'm such a little fool she murmured brokenly but I love you and when you're cold to me it seems as if it isn't worthwhile to go on living after all this was peace the quiet room with a mingled scent of women's powder and perfume hands soft as a warm wind upon his hair the rise and fall of her bosom as she took breath for a moment it was as though it were Gloria there as though he were at rest in some sweeter and safer home than he had ever known an hour past a clock began to chime in the hall he jumped to his feet and looked at the phosphorescent hands of his wristwatch it was twelve o'clock he had trouble in finding a taxi that would take him out at that hour as he urged the driver faster along the road he speculated on the best method of entering camp he had been late several times recently and he knew that where he caught again his name would probably be stricken from the list of officer candidates he wondered if he had not better dismissed the taxi and take a chance on passing the century in the dark still officers often rode past the sentries after midnight halt the mono syllabic came from the yellow glare that the headlights dropped upon the changing road the taxi driver threw out his clutch and a sentry walked up carrying his rifle at the port with him by a nil chance was the officer of the guard out late sergeant yes sir got delayed too bad have to take your name as the officer waited notebook and pencil in hand something not fully intended crowded to Anthony's lips something borne of panic of muddle of despair sergeant are a Foley he answered breathlessly and the outfit company q 83rd infantry all right you'll have to walk from here sergeant Anthony saluted quickly paid his taxi driver and set off for a run toward the regiment he had named when he was out of sight he changed his course and with his heart beating wildly hurry to his company feeling that he had made a fatal error of judgment two days later the officer who had been in command of the guard recognized him in a barber shop downtown in charge of a military policeman he was taken back to the camp where he was reduced the ranks without trial and confined for a month to the limits of his company Street with this blow a spell of utter depression overtook him and within a week he was again caught downtown wandering around in a drunken dazed with a pint of bootleg whiskey in his hip pocket it was because of a sort of craziness in his behavior at the trial that his sentenced to the guardhouse was for only three weeks nightmare early in his confinement the conviction took root in him that he was going mad It was as though there were a quantity of dark yet vivid personalities in his mind some of them familiar some of them strange and terrible held in check by a little monitor who sat aloft somewhere and looked on the thing that worried him was that the monitor was sick and holding out with difficulty should he give up should he fault her for a moment out would rush these intolerable things only Anthony could know what a state of blackness there would be if the worst of him could roam his consciousness unchecked the heat of the day had changed somehow until it was a burnished darkness crushing down upon a devastated land over his head the blue circles of ominous uncharted Suns of unnumbered centres of fire revolved interminably before his eyes as though he were lying constantly exposed to the hot light in a state of feverish coma at 7:00 in the morning something phantasmal something almost absurdly unreal that he knew was his mortal body went out with seven other prisoners and two guards to work on the camp roads one day they loaded and unloaded quantities of gravel spread it raked it the next day they worked with huge barrels of red hot tar flooding the gravel with black shining pools of molten heat at night locked up in the guardhouse he would lie without thoughts without courage to compass thought staring at the irregular beams of the ceiling overhead until about three o'clock when he would slip into a broken troubled sleep during the work hours he labored with uneasy haste attempting as the day bored toward the sultry Mississippi sunset to tire himself physically so that in the evening he might sleep deeply from utter exhaustion then one afternoon in the second week he had a feeling that two eyes were watching him from a place a few feet beyond one of the guards this aroused him to a sort of terror he turned his back on the eyes and shoveled feverishly until it became necessary for him to face about and go for more gravel then they entered his vision again and is already taught nerves tightened up to the breaking point the eyes were leering at him out of a hot silence he heard his name called in a tragic voice and the earth tipped absurdly back and forth to a babble of shouting and confusion when next he became conscious he was back in the guardhouse and the other prisoners were throwing him curious glances the eyes returned to no more it was many days before he realized that the voice must have been dots that she had called out to him and made some sort of disturbance he decided this just previous to the expiration of his sentence when the cloud that oppressed him had lifted leaving him in a deep dispirited lethargy as the conscious mediator the monitor who kept that fearsome menage of horror grew stronger Anthony became physically weaker he was scarcely able to get through the two days of toil and when he was released one rainy afternoon and returned to his company he reached his tent only to fall into a heavy dose for which he awoke before dawn aching and unrefreshed beside his cot were two letters that had been waiting him in the orderly tent for some time the first was from Gloria it was short and cool the case is coming to trial late in November can you possibly get leave I've tried to write you again and again but it just seems to make things worse I want to see you about several matters but you know that you have once prevented me from coming and I disinclined to try again in view of a number of things it seems necessary that we have a conference I'm very glad about your appointment Gloria he was too tired to try to understand or to care her phrases her intentions were all very far away in an incomprehensible past at the second letter he scarcely glanced it was from dot an incoherent tear swollen scroll a flood of protests endearment and grief after a page he let it slip from his inert hand and roused back into a nebulous hinterland of his own at drill call he awoke with a high fever and fainted when he tried to leave his tent at noon he was sent to the base hospital with influenza he was aware that this sickness was providential it saved him from a hysterical relapse and he recovered in time to entrain on a damp November day for New York and for the interminable Massacre beyond when the regiment reached Camp Mills Long Island Anthony single idea was to get into the city and see Gloria as soon as possible it was now evident that an armistice would be signed within the week but rumor had it that in any case troops would continue to be shipped to France until the last moment Anthony was appalled at the notion of the long voyage of a tedious demarcation at a French port and of being kept abroad for a year possibly to replace the troops who had seen actual fighting his intention had been to obtain a 2-day furlough but camp Mills proved to be under a strict influenza quarantine it was impossible for even an officer to leave except on official business for a private it was out of the question the camp itself was a dreary muddle cold windswept and filthy with the accumulated dirt incident to the passage through of many divisions their train came in at 7 one night and they waited in line until 1:00 while a military tangle was straightened out somewhere ahead officers ran up and down ceaselessly calling orders and making a great uproar it turned out that the trouble was due to the colonel who was in a righteous temper because he was a West pointer and the war was going to stop before he could get overseas had the militant governments realized the number of broken hearts among the older West pointers during that week they would indubitably have prolonged the slaughter another month the thing was pitiable gazing out at the bleak expanse of tents extending for miles over a trodden welter of slush and snow Anthony saw the impracticability of trudging to a telephone that night he would call her at the first opportunity in the morning aroused in the chill and bitter dawn he stood at revelry and listened to a passionate harangue from captain Dunning yo man may think the war is over well let me tell you it isn't those fellows aren't going to assign the Armistice it's another trick and we'd be crazy to let anything slacken up here in the company because let me tell you we're going to sail from here within a week and when we do we're going to see some real fighting he paused that they might get the full effect of his pronouncements and then if you think the war's over just talk to anyone who's been in it and see if they think the Germans are all in they don't nobody does I've talked to the people that know and they say there'll be many ways a year longer of war they don't think it's over so you men better not get any foolish ideas that it is EE stressing this final admonition he ordered the company dismissed at noon Anthony set off at a run for the nearest canteen telephone as he approached would correspond to the downtown of the camp he noticed that many other soldiers were running also that a man near him had suddenly leaped into the air and clicked his heels together the tendency to run became general and from little excited groups here and there came the sounds of cheering he stopped and listened over the cold country whistles were blowing and the chimes of the garden city churches broke suddenly into a reverberatory sound Anthony began to run again the cries were clear and distinct now as they rose with clouds of frosted breath into the chilly air Germany surrendered Germany surrendered the false armistice that evening in the opaque gloom of six o'clock Anthony slipped between two freight cars and once over the railroad follow the track along to Garden City where he caught an electric train for New York he stood some chance of apprehension he knew that the military police were often sent through the cars to ask for passes but he imagined that tonight the vigilance would be relaxed but in any event he would have tried to slip through for he had been unable to locate gloria by telephone and another day of suspense would have been intolerable after inexplicable stops and waits that reminded him of the night he had left New York over a year before they drew into the Pennsylvania Station and he followed the familiar way to the taxi stand finding it grotesque and oddly stimulating to give his own address Broadway was a rite of light thronged as he had never seen it with a carnival crowd which swept its glittering way through scraps of paper piled ankle-deep on the sidewalks here and their elevated upon benches and boxes soldiers addressed the heedless mass each face in which was clear-cut and distinct under the white glare overhead and then he picked out a half a dozen figures a drunken sailor tipped backward and supported by two other gobs was waving his hat and emitting a wild series of roars a wounded soldier crutch in hand was borne along in an eddy on the shoulders of some shrieking civilians a dark-haired girl sat cross-legged and meditative on top of a parked taxicab here surely the victory had come in time the climax had been scheduled with the uttermost celestial foresight the great rich nation had made triumphant war suffered enough for poignancy but not enough for bitterness hence the carnival the feasting the triumph under these bright lights glittered the faces of peoples whose glory had long since passed away who's very civilizations were dead men whose ancestors had heard the news of victory in Babylon in Nineveh in Baghdad entire a hundred aerations before men whose ancestors had seen a flower decked slave adorned cortege drift with its wake of captives down the avenues of Imperial Rome past the Rialto the glittering front of the Aster the jeweled magnificence of Times Square a gorgeous alley of incandescent ahead then was it years later he was paying the taxi driver in front of a white building on 57th Street he was in the hall ah there was the Negro boy from Martinique lazy indolent unchanged his missus Patchen I have just come on saw the man announced with his incongruous British accent take me up then the slow drone of the elevator the three steps to the door which swung open at the impetus of his knock Gloria his voice was trembling no answer a faint string of smoke was rising from a cigarette tray a number of vanity fair' sat a straddle on the table Gloria he ran into the bedroom the bath she was not there a negligee of robin's egg blue laid out upon the bed diffused a faint perfume elusive and familiar on a chair were a pair of stockings and a street dress an open powder box yawned upon the bureau she must have gone out the telephone rang abruptly and he started answered it with all the sensations of an impostor hello is mrs. patch there no I'm looking for her myself who this this is mr. Crawford this is mr. Pat speaking I just arrived unexpectedly and I don't know where to find her Oh mr. Crawford sounded a bit taken aback why I imagine she's at the Armistice Ball I know she intended going but I didn't think she'd leave so early where's the Armistice Ball at the Astor thanks Anthony hung up sharply in rows who was mr. Crawford and who was it that was taking her to the ball how long had this been going on all these questions asked and answered themselves a dozen times a dozen ways his very proximity to her drove him half frantic in a frenzy of suspicion he rushed here and there about the apartment hunting for some sign of masculine occupation opening the bathroom cupboard searching feverishly through the bureau drawers then he found something they made him stop suddenly and set down on one of the twin beds the corners of his mouth drooping as though he were about to weep there in a corner of her drawer tied with a frail blue ribbon were all the letters and telegrams he had written her during the year past he was suffused with happy and sentimental shame I'm not fit to touch her he cried aloud to the four walls I'm not fit to touch her little hand nevertheless he went out to look for her in the Astor Lobby he was engulfed immediately in a crowd so thick as to make progress almost impossible he asked the direction of the ballroom from half a dozen people before he could get a sober and intelligible answer eventually after a last long wait he checked his military overcoat in the hall it was only nine but the dance was in full blast the panorama was incredible women women everywhere girls gay with wine singing shrilly above the clamor of the dazzling confetti covered throng girls set off by the uniforms of a dozen nations fat females collapsing with dignity upon the floor and retain self-respect by shouting hurrah for the Allies three women with white hair dancing hand-in-hand around a sailor who revolved in a dizzying spin upon the floor clasping to his heart an empty bottle of champagne breathlessly Anthony scanned the dancers scanned the muddled Lions trailing in single file in and out among the tables scanned the horn blowing kissing coughing laughing drinking parties under the great full bosom flags which leaned in glowing color over the pageantry and the sound then he saw a Gloria she was sitting at a table for two directly across the room her dress was black and above it her animated face tinted with the most glamorous rows made he thought a spot of poignant beauty on the room his heart leaped as though to a new music he jostled his way toward her and called her name just as the gray eyes looked up and found him for that instant as their bodies met and melted the world the revel the tumbling whimper of the music faded to an ecstatic monotone hushed as a song of bees oh my Gloria he cried her kiss was a cool real flowing from her heart end of book 3 chapter 1 part 2

2 thoughts on “Beautiful and Damned | F. Scott Fitzgerald | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 7/9

  1. Beautiful and Damned | F. Scott Fitzgerald | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 7/9

    Parts of this video:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:–o

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    Part 7: (this video)

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  2. Beautiful and Damned | F. Scott Fitzgerald | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 7/9

    16: [00:00:00] – Book III Chapter 1 Part 1 – A Matter of Civilization

    17: [00:43:13] – Book III Chapter 1 Part 2 – An Impressive Occasion

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