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Chapter 9

After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day, only as an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby's front door. A rope stretched across the main gate and a policeman by it kept out the curious, but little boys soon discovered that they could enter through my yard and there were always a few of them clustered open-mouthed about the pool.

Someone with a positive manner, perhaps a detective, used the expression "mad man" as he bent over Wilson's body that afternoon, and the adventitious authority of his voice set the key for the newspaper reports next morning.

Most of those reports were a nightmare--grotesque, circumstantial, eager and untrue. When Michaelis's testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson's suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade--but Catherine, who might have said anything, didn't say a word. She showed a surprising amount of character about it too--looked at the coroner with determined eyes under that corrected brow of hers and swore that her sister had never seen Gatsby, that her sister was completely happy with her husband, that her sister had been into no mischief whatever. She convinced herself of it and cried into her handkerchief as if the very suggestion was more than she could endure. So Wilson was reduced to a man "deranged by grief" in order that the case might remain in its simplest form. And it rested there.

But all this part of it seemed remote and unessential. I found myself on Gatsby's side, and alone. From the moment I telephoned news of the catastrophe to West Egg village, every surmise about him, and every practical question, was referred to me. At first I was surprised and confused; then, as he lay in his house and didn't move or breathe or speak hour upon hour it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no one else was interested--interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which every one has some vague right at the end.

I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her instinctively and without hesitation. But she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon, and taken baggage with them.

"Left no address?"

"No."

"Say when they'd be back?"

"No."

"Any idea where they are? How I could reach them?"

"I don't know. Can't say."

I wanted to get somebody for him. I wanted to go into the room where he lay and reassure him: "I'll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don't worry.

Just trust me and I'll get somebody for you----"

Meyer Wolfshiem's name wasn't in the phone book. The butler gave me his office address on Broadway and I called Information, but by the time I had the number it was long after five and no one answered the phone.

"Will you ring again?"

"I've rung them three times."

"It's very important."

"Sorry. I'm afraid no one's there."

I went back to the drawing room and thought for an instant that they were chance visitors, all these official people who suddenly filled it. But as they drew back the sheet and looked at Gatsby with unmoved eyes, his protest continued in my brain.

"Look here, old sport, you've got to get somebody for me. You've got to try hard. I can't go through this alone."

Some one started to ask me questions but I broke away and going upstairs looked hastily through the unlocked parts of his desk--he'd never told me definitely that his parents were dead. But there was nothing--only the picture of Dan Cody, a token of forgotten violence staring down from the wall.

Next morning I sent the butler to New York with a letter to Wolfshiem which asked for information and urged him to come out on the next train. That request seemed superfluous when I wrote it. I was sure he'd start when he saw the newspapers, just as I was sure there'd be a wire from Daisy before noon--but neither a wire nor Mr. Wolfshiem arrived, no one arrived except more police and photographers and newspaper men.

When the butler brought back Wolfshiem'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 grey 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.

"It was a mad man," 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.----"

"Carraway."

"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 upstairs; 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."

"That's true," I said, uncomfortably.

He fumbled at the embroidered coverlet, trying to take it from the bed, and lay down stiffly--was instantly asleep.

That night an obviously frightened person called up and demanded to know who I was before he would give his name.

"This is Mr. Carraway," I said.

"Oh--" He sounded relieved. "This is Klipspringer."

I was relieved too for that seemed to promise another friend at Gatsby's grave. I didn't want it to be in the papers and draw a sightseeing crowd so I'd been calling up a few people myself.

They were hard to find.

"The funeral's tomorrow," I said. "Three o'clock, here at the house.

I wish you'd tell anybody who'd be interested."

"Oh, I will," he broke out hastily. "Of course I'm not likely to see anybody, but if I do."

His tone made me suspicious.

"Of course you'll be there yourself."

"Well, I'll certainly try. What I called up about is----"

"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "How about saying you'll come?"

"Well, the fact is--the truth of the matter is that I'm staying with some people up here in Greenwich and they rather expect me to be with them tomorrow. In fact there's a sort of picnic or something.

Of course I'll do my very best to get away."

I ejaculated an unrestrained "Huh!" and he must have heard me for he went on nervously:

"What I called up about was a pair of shoes I left there. I wonder if it'd be too much trouble to have the butler send them on. You see they're tennis shoes and I'm sort of helpless without them. My address is care of B. F.----"

I didn't hear the rest of the name because I hung up the receiver.

After that I felt a certain shame for Gatsby--one gentleman to whom I telephoned implied that he had got what he deserved. However, that was my fault, for he was one of those who used to sneer most bitterly at Gatsby on the courage of Gatsby's liquor and I should have known better than to call him.

The morning of the funeral I went up to New York to see Meyer Wolfshiem; I couldn't seem to reach him any other way. The door that I pushed open on the advice of an elevator boy was marked "The Swastika Holding Company" and at first there didn't seem to be any one inside.

But when I'd shouted "Hello" several times in vain an argument 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. Wolfshiem'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 Wolfshiem'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 Wolfshiem 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."

"Oh."

"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 an 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.

"There's nothing to get mixed up in. It's all over now."

"When a man gets killed I never like to get mixed up in it in any way.

I keep out. When I was a young man it was different--if a friend of mine died, no matter how, I stuck with them to the end. You may think that's sentimental but I mean it--to the bitter end."

I saw that for some reason of his own he was determined not to come, so I stood up.

"Are you a college man?" he inquired suddenly.

For a moment I thought he was going to suggest a "gonnegtion" but he only nodded and shook my hand.

"Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead," he suggested. "After that my own rule is to let everything alone."

When I left his office the sky had turned dark and I got back to West Egg in a drizzle. After changing my clothes I went next door and found Mr. Gatz walking up and down excitedly in the hall. His pride in his son and in his son's possessions was continually increasing and now he had something to show me.

"Jimmy sent me this picture." He took out his wallet with trembling fingers. "Look there."

It was a photograph of the house, cracked in the corners and dirty with many hands. He pointed out every detail to me eagerly. "Look there!" and then sought admiration from my eyes. He had shown it so often that I think it was more real to him now than the house itself.

"Jimmy sent it to me. I think it's a very pretty picture. It shows up well."

"Very well. Had you seen him lately?"

"He come out to see me two years ago and bought me the house I live in now. Of course we was broke up when he run off from home but I see now there was a reason for it. He knew he had a big future in front of him.

And ever since he made a success he was very generous with me."

He seemed reluctant to put away the picture, held it for another minute, lingeringly, before my eyes. Then he returned the wallet and pulled from his pocket a ragged old copy of a book called "Hopalong Cassidy."

"Look here, this is a book he had when he was a boy. It just shows you."

He opened it at the back cover and turned it around for me to see.

On the last fly-leaf was printed the word SCHEDULE, and the date September 12th, 1906. And underneath:

Rise from bed................ 6.00 A.M.

Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling...... 6.15-6.30 "

Study electricity, etc............ 7.15-8.15 "

Work..................... 8.30-4.30 P.M.

Baseball and sports............. 4.30-5.00 "

Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it 5.00-6.00 "

Study needed inventions........... 7.00-9.00 "

GENERAL RESOLVES

No wasting time at Shafters or a name, indecipherable

No more smokeing or chewing

Bath every other day

Read one improving book or magazine per week

Save $5.00 crossed out $3.00 per week

Be better to parents

"I come across this book by accident," said the old man. "It just shows you, don't it?"

"It just shows you."

"Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great for that. He told me I et like a hog once and I beat him for it."

He was reluctant to close the book, reading each item aloud and then looking eagerly at me. I think he rather expected me to copy down the list for my own use.

A little before three the Lutheran minister arrived from Flushing and I began to look involuntarily out the windows for other cars. So did Gatsby's father. And as the time passed and the servants came in and stood waiting in the hall, his eyes began to blink anxiously and he spoke of the rain in a worried uncertain way. The minister glanced several times at his watch so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn't any use. Nobody came.

About five o'clock our procession of three cars reached the cemetery and stopped in a thick drizzle beside the gate--first a motor hearse, horribly black and wet, then Mr. Gatz and the minister and I in the limousine, and, a little later, four or five servants and the postman from West Egg in Gatsby's station wagon, all wet to the skin. As we started through the gate into the cemetery I heard a car stop and then the sound of someone splashing after us over the soggy ground. I looked around. It was the man with owl-eyed glasses whom I had found marvelling over Gatsby's books in the library one night three months before.

I'd never seen him since then. I don't know how he knew about the funeral or even his name. The rain poured down his thick glasses and he took them off and wiped them to see the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby's grave.

I tried to think about Gatsby then for a moment but he was already too far away and I could only remember, without resentment, that Daisy hadn't sent a message or a flower. Dimly I heard someone murmur "Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on," and then the owl-eyed man said "Amen to that," in a brave voice.

We straggled down quickly through the rain to the cars. Owl-Eyes spoke to me by the gate.

"I couldn't get to the house," he remarked.

"Neither could anybody else."

"Go on!" He started. "Why, my God! they used to go there by the hundreds."

He took off his glasses and wiped them again outside and in.

"The poor son-of-a-bitch," he said.

One of my most vivid memories is of coming back west from prep school and later from college at Christmas time. Those who went farther than Chicago would gather in the old dim Union Station at six o'clock of a December evening with a few Chicago friends already caught up into their own holiday gayeties to bid them a hasty goodbye. I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This or That's and the chatter of frozen breath and the hands waving overhead as we caught sight of old acquaintances and the matchings of invitations:

"Are you going to the Ordways'? the Herseys'? the Schultzes'?" and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands.

And last the murky yellow cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad looking cheerful as Christmas itself on the tracks beside the gate.

When we pulled out into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to stretch out beside us and twinkle against the windows, and the dim lights of small Wisconsin stations moved by, a sharp wild brace came suddenly into the air. We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back from dinner through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour before we melted indistinguishably into it again.

That's my middle west--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling, returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family's name. I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

Even when the East excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old--even then it had always for me a quality of distortion. West Egg especially still figures in my more fantastic dreams. I see it as a night scene by El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lustreless moon. In the foreground four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house--the wrong house. But no one knows the woman's name, and no one cares.

After Gatsby's death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes' power of correction. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home.

There was one thing to be done before I left, an awkward, unpleasant thing that perhaps had better have been let alone. But I wanted to leave things in order and not just trust that obliging and indifferent sea to sweep my refuse away. I saw Jordan Baker and talked over and around what had happened to us together and what had happened afterward to me, and she lay perfectly still listening in a big chair.

She was dressed to play golf and I remember thinking she looked like a good illustration, her chin raised a little, jauntily, her hair the color of an autumn leaf, her face the same brown tint as the fingerless glove on her knee. When I had finished she told me without comment that she was engaged to another man. I doubted that though there were several she could have married at a nod of her head but I pretended to be surprised. For just a minute I wondered if I wasn't making a mistake, then I thought it all over again quickly and got up to say goodbye.

"Nevertheless you did throw me over," said Jordan suddenly. "You threw me over on the telephone. I don't give a damn about you now but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for a while."

We shook hands.

"Oh, and do you remember--" she added, "----a conversation we had once about driving a car?"

"Why--not exactly."

"You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver?

Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride."

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."

She didn't answer. Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.

One afternoon late in October I saw Tom Buchanan. He was walking ahead of me along Fifth Avenue in his alert, aggressive way, his hands out a little from his body as if to fight off interference, his head moving sharply here and there, adapting itself to his restless eyes. Just as I slowed up to avoid overtaking him he stopped and began frowning into the windows of a jewelry store. Suddenly he saw me and walked back holding out his hand.

"What's the matter, Nick? Do you object to shaking hands with me?"

"Yes. You know what I think of you."

"You're crazy, Nick," he said quickly. "Crazy as hell. I don't know what's the matter with you."

"Tom," I inquired, "what did you say to Wilson that afternoon?"

He stared at me without a word and I knew I had guessed right about those missing hours. I started to turn away but he took a step after me and grabbed my arm.

"I told him the truth," he said. "He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave and when I sent down word that we weren't in he tried to force his way upstairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn't told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his pocket every minute he was in the house----" He broke off defiantly.

"What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car."

There was nothing I could say, except the one unutterable fact that it wasn't true.

"And if you think I didn't have my share of suffering--look here, when I went to give up that flat and saw that damn box of dog biscuits sitting there on the sideboard I sat down and cried like a baby. By God it was awful----"

I couldn't forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made....

I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child. Then he went into the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace--or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons--rid of my provincial squeamishness forever.

Gatsby's house was still empty when I left--the grass on his lawn had grown as long as mine. One of the taxi drivers in the village never took a fare past the entrance gate without stopping for a minute and pointing inside; perhaps it was he who drove Daisy and Gatsby over to East Egg the night of the accident and perhaps he had made a story about it all his own. I didn't want to hear it and I avoided him when I got off the train.

I spent my Saturday nights in New York because those gleaming, dazzling parties of his were with me so vividly that I could still hear the music and the laughter faint and incessant from his garden and the cars going up and down his drive. One night I did hear a material car there and saw its lights stop at his front steps. But I didn't investigate. Probably it was some final guest who had been away at the ends of the earth and didn't know that the party was over.

On the last night, with my trunk packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more. On the white steps an obscene word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick, stood out clearly in the moonlight and I erased it, drawing my shoe raspingly along the stone. Then I wandered down to the beach and sprawled out on the sand.

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound.

And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world.

Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning---- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

事隔两年,我回想起那天其余的时间,那一晚以及第二天,只记得一批又一批的警察、摄影师和新闻记者在盖茨比家的前门口来来往往。外面的大门口有一根绳子拦住,旁边站着一名警察,不让看热闹的人进来,但是小男孩们不久就发现他们可以从我的院子里绕过来,因此总有几个孩子目瞪口呆地挤在游泳池旁边。那天下午,有一个神态自信的人,也许是一名侦探,低头检视威尔逊的尸体时用了“疯子” 两个字,而他的语气偶然的权威就为第二天早上所有报纸的报道定了调子。

那些报道大多数都是一场噩梦——离奇古怪,捕风捉影,煞有介事,而且不真实。等到米切里斯在验尸时的证词透露了威尔逊对他妻子的猜疑以后,我以为整个故事不久就会被添油加醋在黄色小报上登出来了——不料凯瑟琳,她本可以信口开河的,却什么都不说,并且表现出惊人的魄力——她那描过的眉毛底下的两只坚定的眼睛笔直地看着验尸官,又发誓说她姐姐从来没见过盖茨比,说她姐姐和她丈夫生活在一起非常美满,说她姐姐从来没有什么不端的行为。她说得自己都信以为真了,又用手帕捂着脸痛哭了起来,仿佛连提出这样的疑问都是她受不了的,于是威尔逊就被归结为一个“悲伤过度神经失常”的人,以便这个案子可以保持最简单的情节。案子也就这样了结了。

但是事情的这个方面似乎整个都是不痛不痒、无关紧要的。我发现自己是站在盖茨比一边的,而且只有我一人。从我打电话到西卵镇报告惨案那一刻起,每一个关于他的揣测、每一个实际的问题,都提到我这里来。起初我感到又惊讶又迷惑,后来一小时又一小时过去,他还是躺在他的房子里,不动,不呼吸,也不说话,我才渐渐明白我在负责,因为除我以外没有仟何人有兴趣——我的意思是说,那种每个人身后多少都有权利得到的强烈的个人兴趣。

在我们发现他的尸体半小时之后我就打了电话给黛西,本能地、毫不迟疑地给她打了电话。但是她和汤姆那天下午很早就出门了,还随身带了行李。

“没留地址吗?”

“没有。”

“说他们几时回来吗?”

“没有。

“知道他们到哪儿去了吗?我怎样能和他们取得联系?”

“我不知道,说不上来。”

我真想给他找一个人来。我真想走到他躺着的那间屋子里去安慰他说:“我一定给你找一个人来,盖茨比。别着急。相信我好了,我一定给你找一个人来……”

迈耶·沃尔夫山姆的名字不在电话簿里。男管家把他百老汇办公室的地址给我,我又打电话到电话局问讯处,但是等到我有了号码时已经早就过了五点,没有人接电话了。

“请你再摇一下好吗?”

“我已经摇过三次了。”

“有非常要紧的事。”

“对不起,那儿恐怕没有人。”

我回到客厅里去,屋子里突然挤满了官方的人员,起先我还以为是一些不速之客。虽然他们掀开被单,用惊恐的眼光看着盖茨比,可是他的抗议继续在我脑子里回响:

“我说,老兄,你一定得替我找个人来。你一定得想想办法。我一个人可受不了这个罪啊。”

有人来找我提问题,我却脱了身跑上楼去,匆匆忙忙翻了一下地书桌上没锁的那些抽屉——他从没明确地告诉我他的父母已经死了,但是什么也找不到——只有丹·科迪的那张相片,那已经被人遗忘的粗野狂暴生活的象征,从墙上向下面凝视着。

第二天早晨我派男管家到纽约去给沃尔夫山姆送一封信,信中向他打听消息,并恳请他搭下一班火车就来。我这样写的时候觉得这个请求似乎是多此一举。我认为他一看见报纸肯定马上就会赶来的,正如我认为中午以前黛西肯定会有电报来的 ——可是电报也没来,沃尔夫山姆先生也没到。什么人都没来,只有更多的警察、摄影师和新闻记者。等到男管家带回来沃尔夫山姆的回信时,我开始感到傲视一切,感到盖茨比和我可以团结一致横眉冷对他们所有的人。

亲爱的卡罗威先生:这个消息使我感到万分震惊,我几乎不敢相信是真的。那个人干的这种疯狂行为应当使我们大家都好好想想。我现在不能前来,因为我正在办理一些非常重要的业务,目前不能跟这件事发生牵连。过一些时候如有我可以出力的事,请派埃德加送封信通知我。我听到这种事后简直不知道自己身在何处,感到天昏地暗了。

您的忠实的,

迈耶·沃尔夫山姆下面又匆匆附了一笔:关于丧礼安排请告知。又及:根本不认识他家里人。

那天下午电话铃响,长途台说芝加哥有电话来,我以为这总该是黛

西了,但等到接通了一听却是一个男人的声音,很轻很远。

“我是斯莱格……”

“是吗?”这名字很生疏。

“那封信真够呛,是不?收到我的电报了吗?”

“什么电报也没有。”

“小派克倒霉了,”他话说得很快,“他在柜台上递证券的时候给逮住了。刚刚五分钟之前他们收到纽约的通知,列上了号码。你想得到吗?在这种乡下地方你没法料到……”

“喂!喂!”我上气不接下气地打断了他的话,“你听我说——我不是盖茨比先生。盖茨比先生死了。”

电话线那头沉默了好久,接着是一声惊叫……然后卡嗒一声电话就挂断了。

我想大概是第三天,从明尼苏达州的一个小城镇来了一封署名亨利·C·盖兹的电报。上面只说发电人马上动身,要求等他到达后再举行葬礼。

来的是盖茨比的父亲,一个很庄重的老头子,非常可怜,非常沮丧,这样暖和的九月天就裹上了一件蹩脚的长外套。他激动得眼泪不住地往下流,我从他手里把旅行包和雨伞接过来时,他不停地伸手去拉他那摄稀稀的花白胡须。我好不容易才帮他脱下了大衣。他人快要垮了,不是我一而把他领到音乐厅里去,让他坐下,一面打发人去搞一点吃的来,但是他不肯吃东西,那杯牛奶也从他哆哆嗦嗦的手里泼了出来

“我从芝加哥报纸上看到的,”他说,“芝加哥报纸上全都登了出来,我马上就动身了。”

“我没法子通知您。”

他的眼睛现而不见,可是不停地向屋子里四面看。

“是一个疯子干的,”他说,“他一定是疯了。”

“您喝杯咖啡不好吗?”我劝他。

“我什么都不要。我现在好了,您是……”

“卡罗威。”

“呃,我现在好了。他们把杰米放在哪儿?”

我把他领进客厅里他儿子停放的地方,把他留在那甲。有几个小男孩爬上了台阶,正在往门厅里张望。等到我告诉他们是谁来了,他们才勉勉强强地走开了。

过了一会儿盖兹先生打开门走了出来,他嘴巴张着,脸微微有点红,眼睛“断断续续洒下地滴泪水。他已经到了并不把死亡看作一件骇人听闻的事情的年纪,于是此刻地第一次向四周一望,看见门厅如此富丽堂皇,一间间大屋子从这中又通向别的屋子,他的悲伤就开始和一股又惊讶又骄傲的感情交织在一起了。我把他搀到楼上的一间卧室里。他一面脱上衣和背心,我一面告诉他一切安排都推迟了,等他来决定。

“我当时不知道您要怎么办,盖茨比先生……”

“我姓盖兹。”

“盖兹先生,我以为您也许要把遗体运到西部去。”

他摇了摇头。

“杰米一向喜欢待在东部。他是在东部上升到他这个地位的。你是我孩子的朋友吗,先生?”

“我们是很知己的朋友。”

“他是大有前程的,你知道。他只是个年轻人,但是他在这个地方很有能耐。”

他郑重其事地用手碰碰脑袋,我也点了点头。

“假使他活下去的话,他会成为一个大人物的,像詹姆斯·J·希尔那样的人,他会帮助建设国家的。”

“确实是那样,”我局促不安地说。

他笨手笨脚地把绣花被单扯来扯去,想把它从床上拉下来,接着就硬邦邦地躺下去——立刻就睡着了。

那天晚上一个显然害怕的人打电话来,一定要先知道我是谁才肯报他自己的姓名。

“我是卡罗威一”我说。

“哦!”他似乎感到宽慰,“我是克利普斯普林格。”

我也感到宽慰,因为这一来盖茨比的墓前可能会多一个朋友了。我不愿意登报,引来一大堆看热闹的人,所以我就自己打电话通知了几个人。他们可真难找到。

“明天出殡,”我说,“下午三点,就在此地家里。我希望你转告凡是有意参加的人。”

“哦,一定,”他忙说,“当然啦,我不大可能见到什么人,但是如果我碰到的活。”

他的语气使我起了疑心。

“你自己当然是要来的。”

“呃,找一定想法子来。我打电话来是要问……”

“等等,”我打断了他的活,“先说你一定来怎么样?”

“呃,事实是……实际情况是这样的,我目前待在格林威治这里朋友家里,人家指望我明大和他们一起玩。事实上,明天要去野餐什么的。当然我走得开一定来。”

我忍不住叫了一声“嘿”,他也一定听到了,因为他很紧张地往下说:

“我打电话来是为了我留在那里的一双鞋。不知道能不能麻烦你让男管家给我寄来,你知道,那是双网球鞋,我离了它简直没办法。我的地址是B·F……”

我没听他说完那个名字就把话筒挂上了。

在那以后我为盖茨比感到羞愧——还有一个我打电话去找的人竟然表示他是死有应得的。不过,这是我的过错,因为他是那些当初喝足了盖茨比的酒就大骂盖茨比的客人中的一个,我本来就不应该打电话给他的。

出殡那天的早晨,我到纽约去找迈耶·沃尔夫山姆。似乎用任何别的办法都找不到他。在开电梯的指点之下,我推开了一扇门,门上写着“囗字控股公司”,可是起先里面好像没有人,但是,我高声喊了几声“喂”也没人答应之后,一扇隔板后面突然传出争辩的声音,接着一个漂亮的犹太女人在里面的一个门口出现,用含有敌意的黑眼睛打量我。

“没人在家,”她说,“沃尔夫山姆先生到芝加哥去了。”

前一句话显然是撒谎,因为里面有人已经开始不成腔地用口哨吹奏《玫瑰经》。

“请告诉他卡罗威要见他。”

“我又不能把他从芝加哥叫回来,对不对?”

正在这时有一个声音,毫无疑问是沃尔夫山姆的声音,从门的那边喊了一声 “斯特拉”。

“你把名字留在桌上,”她很快地说,“等他回来我告诉他。”

“可是我知道他就在里面。”

她向我面前跨了一步,开始把两只手气冲冲地沿着臀部一上一下地移动。

“你们这些年轻人自以为你们随时可以闯进这里来,”她骂道,“我们都烦死了。我说他在芝加哥,他就是在芝加哥。”

我提了一下盖茨比的名字。

“哦……啊!”她又打量了我一下,“请您稍……您姓什么来看?”

她不见了。过了一会,迈耶·沃尔夫山姆就庄重地站在门口,两只手都伸了出来。他把我拉进他的办公室,一面用虔诚的口吻说在这种时候我们大家都很难过,一面敬我一支雪茄烟。

“我还记得我第一次见到他的情景,”他说,“刚刚离开军队的一名年轻的少校,胸口挂满了在战场上赢得的勋章。他穷得只好继续穿军服,因为他买不起便服。我第一次见到他是那天他走进四十三号街怀恩勃兰纳开的弹子房找工作。他已经两天没吃饭了。‘跟我一块吃午饭去吧。’我说。不到半个钟头他就吃了四块多美元的饭菜。”

“是你帮他做起生意来的吗?”我问。

“帮他!我一手造就了他。”

“哦”

“是我把他从零开始培养起来,从阴沟里捡起来的。我一眼就看出他是个仪表堂堂、文质彬彬的年轻人,等他告诉我他上过牛劲,我就知道我可以派他大用场。我让他加入了美国退伍军火协会,后来他在那平面地位挺高的。他一出马就跑到奥尔巴尼去给我的一个主顾办了一件事。我们俩在一切方面都像这样亲密,”他举起了两个肥胖的指头,“永远在一起。”

我心里很纳罕,不知这种搭档是否也包括一九一九年世界棒球联赛那笔交易在内。

“现在他死了,”我隔了一会才说,“你是他最知己的朋友,因此我知道今天下午你一定会来参加他的葬礼的。”

“我很想来。”

“那么,来就是啦。”

他鼻孔里的毛微微颤动,他摇摇头,泪水盈眶。

“我不能来……我不能牵连进去。”他说。

“没有什么事可以牵连进去的。事情现在都过去了。”

“凡是有人被杀害,我总不愿意有任何牵连。我不介入。我年轻时就大不一样 ——如果一个朋友死了,不管怎么死的,我总是出力出到底。你也许会认为这是感情用事,可是我是说到做到的——一直拼到底。”

我看出了地决意不去,自有他的原因。于是我就站了起来。

“你是不是大学毕业的?”他突然问我。

有一会儿工夫我还以为他要提出搞点什么“关系”,可是他只点了点头,握了握我的手。

“咱们大家都应当学会在朋友活着的时候讲交情,而不要等到他死了之后,” 他表示说,“在人死以后,我个人的原则是不管闲事。”

我离开他办公室的时候,天色已经变黑,我在蒙蒙细雨中回到了西卵。我换过衣服之后就到隔壁去,看到盖兹先生兴奋地在门厅里走来走去。他对他儿子和他儿子的财物所感到的自豪一直在不断地增长,现在他又有一样东西要给我看。

“杰米寄给我的这张照片。”他手指哆嗦着掏出了他的钱包,“你瞧吧。”

是这座房子的一张照片,四角破裂,也给许多手摸脏了。他热切地把每一个细节都指给我看。“你瞧!”随即又看我眼中有没有赞赏的神情。他把这张照片给人家看了那么多次数,我相信在地看来现在照片比真房子还要真

“杰米把它寄给我的,我觉得这是一张很好看的照片,照得很好”

“非常好。您近来见过他吗?”

“他两年前回过家来看我,给我买下了我现在住的房子。当然,他从家里跑走的时候我们很伤心,但是我现在明白他那样做是有道理的。他知道自己有远大的前程,他发迹之后一走对我很大方。”

他似乎不愿意把那张照片放回去,依依不舍地又在我眼前举了一会工夫。然后他把钱包放了回去,又从口袋小掏出一本破破烂烂的旧书,书名是《生仔卡西迪》

“你瞧瞧,这本书是他小时候着的。真是从小见大。”

他把书的到底翻开,掉转过来让我看,在最后的空白页上端端正正地写着“时间表”几个字和一九零六年九月十二日的日期。下面是:

起床 上午6:00

哑铃体操及爬墙 6:15-6:30

学习电学等 7:15-8:15

工作 8:50-下午4:30

棒球及其他运动 下午4:30-5:00

练习演说、仪态 5:00-6:00

学习有用的新发明 7:00-9:00

个人决心

不要浪费时间去沙夫特家或(另一姓,字迹不清)

不再吸烟或嚼烟

每隔一天洗澡

每周读有益的书或杂志一份

每周储蓄五元(涂去)三元

对父母更加体贴

“我无意中发现这本书,”老头说,“真是从小见大,是不是?”

“真是从小见大。”

“杰米是注定了要出人头地的,他总是订出一些诸如此类的决心。你注意没有,他用什么办法提高自己的思想?他在这方面一向是了不起的。有一次地说我吃东西像猪一样,我把他揍了一顿。”

他舍不得把书合上,把每一条大声念了一遍,然后眼巴巴地看着我。我想他满以为我会把那张表抄下来给我自己用。

快到三点的时候,路德教会的那位牧师从弗勒兴来了,于是我开始不由自主地向窗户外面望,看看有没有别的车子来。盖茨比的父亲也和我一样。随着时间过去,佣人都走进来站在门厅甲等候,老人的眼睛对始焦急地眨起来,同时他又忐忑不安地说到外面的雨。牧师看了好几次表,我只好把他拉到一旁,请他再等半个钟头,但是毫无用处。没有一个人来。

五点钟左右我们三辆车子的行列什到基地,在密密的小雨中在大门旁边停了下来——第一辆是灵车,又黑又湿,怪难看的,后面是盖兹先生、牧师和我坐在大型轿车里,再后面一点的是四五个佣人和西卵镇的邮差坐在盖茨比的旅行车里,大家都淋得透湿。正当我们穿过大门走进整地时,我听见一辆车停下来,接着是一个人踩着湿透的草地在我们后面追上来的声音。我回头一看,原来是那个戴猫头鹰眼镜的人,三个月以前的一大晚上我发现他一边看着盖茨比图书室里的书一边惊叹不已。

从那以后我没再见过他。我不知道他怎么会知道今天安葬的,我也不知道地的姓名。雨水顺着他的厚眼镜流下来,他只好把眼镜摘下探一擦,再看着那块挡雨的帆布从盖茨比的坟上卷起来。

这时我很想回忆一下盖茨比,但是他已经离得太远了,我只记得黛西既没来电报,也没送花,然而我并不感到气恼。我隐约听到有人喃喃念道:“上帝保佑雨中的死者。”接着那个戴猫头鹰眼镜的人用洪亮的声音说了一声:“阿门!”

我们零零落落地在雨中跑回到车子上。戴猫头鹰眼镜的人在大门口跟我说了一会话。

“我没能赶到别墅来。”他说。

“别人也都没能来。”

“真的!”他大吃一惊,“啊,我的上帝!他们过去一来就是好几百嘛。”

他把眼镜摘了下来,里里外外都擦了一遍。

“这家伙真他妈的可怜。”他说。

我记忆中最鲜明的景象之一就是每年圣诞节从预备学校,以及后来从大学回到西部的情景。到芝加哥以外的地方去的同学往往在一个十二月黄昏六点钟聚在那座古老、幽暗的联邦车站,和几个家在芝加哥的朋友匆匆话别,只见他们已经裹入了他们自己的节日欢娱气氛。我记得那些从东部某某私立女校回来的女学生的皮大衣以及她们在严寒的空气中喊喊喳喳的笑语,记得我们发现熟人时抢手呼唤,记得互相比较收到的邀请:“你到奥德威家去吗?赫西家呢?舒尔茨家呢?”还记得紧紧抓在我们戴了手套的手里的长条绿色车票。最后还有停在月台门口轨道上的芝加哥-密尔沃基-圣保罗铁路的朦胧的黄色客车,看上去就像圣诞节一样地使人愉快。

火车在寒冬的黑夜里奔驰,真正的白雪、我们的雪,开始在两边向远方伸展,迎着车窗闪耀,威斯康星州的小车站暗灰的灯火从眼前掠过,这时空中突然出现一股使人神清气爽的寒气。我们吃过晚饭穿过寒冷的通廊往回走时,一路深深地呼吸着这寒气,在奇异的一个小时中难以言喻地意识到自己与这片乡土之间的血肉相连的关系,然后我们就要重新不留痕迹地融化在其中了。

这就是我的中西部——不是麦田,不是草原,也不是瑞典移民的荒凉村镇,而是我青年时代那些激动人心的还乡的火车,是严寒的黑夜里的街灯和雪橇的铃声,是圣诞冬青花环被窗内的灯火映在雪地的影子。我是其中的一部分,由于那些漫长的冬天我为人不免有点矜持,由于从小在卡罗威公馆长大,态度上也不免有点自满。在我们那个城市里,人家的住宅仍旧世世代代称为某姓的公馆。我现在才明白这个故事到头来是一个西部的故事——汤姆和盖茨比、黛西、乔丹和我,我们都是西部人,也许我们具有什么共同的缺陷使我们无形中不能适应东部的生活。

即使东部最令我兴奋的时候,即使我最敏锐地感觉到比之俄亥俄河那边的那些枯燥无味、乱七八糟的城镇,那些只有儿童和老人可幸免于无止无休的闲话的城镇,东部具有无比的优越性——即使在那种时候,我也总觉得东部有畸形的地方,尤其西卵仍然出现在我做的比较荒唐的梦里。在我的梦中,这个小镇就像埃尔·格列柯画的一幅夜景:上百所房屋,既平常又怪诞,蹲伏在阴沉沉的天空和黯淡无光的月亮之下。在前景里有四个板着面孔、身穿大礼服的男人沿人行道走着,抬着一副担架,上面躺着一个喝醉酒的女人,身上穿着一件白色的晚礼服。她一只手耷拉在一边,闪耀着珠宝的寒光。那几个人郑重其事地转身走进一所房子——走错了地方。但是没人知道这个女人的姓名,也没有人关心。

盖茨比死后,东部在我心目中就是这样鬼影憧憧,面目全非到超过了我眼睛矫正的能力,因此等到烧枯叶的蓝烟弥漫空中,寒风把晾在绳上的湿衣服吹得邦邦硬的时候,我就决定回家来了。

在我离开之前还有一件事要办,一件尴尬的、不愉快的事,本来也许应当不了了之的,但是我希望把事情收拾干净,而不指望那个乐于帮忙而又不动感情的大海来把我的垃圾冲掉。我去见了乔丹·贝克,从头到尾谈了围绕着我们两人之间发生的事情,然后谈到我后来的遭遇,而她躺在一张大椅子里听着,一动也不动。

她穿的是打高尔夫球的衣服,我还记得我当时想过她活像一幅很好的插图,她的下巴根神气地微微翘起,她头发像秋叶的颜色,她的脸和她放在膝盖上的浅棕色无指手套一个颜色。等我讲完之后,她告诉我她和另一个人订了婚,别的话一句没说。我怀疑她的话,虽然有好几个人是只要她一点头就可以与她结婚的,但是我故作惊讶。一刹那间我寻思自己是否正在犯错误,接着我很快地考虑了一番就站起来告辞了。

“不管怎样,还是你甩掉我的,”乔丹忽然说,“你那天在电话L把我甩了。我现在拿你完全不当回事了,但是当时那倒是个新经验,我有好一阵子感到晕头转向的。”

我们俩握了握手。

“哦,你还记得吗,”她又加了一句,“我们有过一次关于开车的谈话?”

“啊……记不太清了。”

“你说过一个开车不小心的人只有在碰上另一个开车不小心的人之前才安全吧?瞧,我碰上了另一个开车不小心的人了,是不是?我是说我真不小心,竟然这样看错了人。我以为你是一个相当老实、正直的人。我以为那是你暗暗引以为荣的事。”

“我三十岁了,”我说,“要是我年轻五岁,也许我还可以欺骗自己,说这样做光明正大。”

她没有回答。我又气又恼,对她有几分依恋,同时心里又非常难过,只好转身走开了。

十月下旬的一个下午我碰到了汤姆·布坎农。他在五号路上走在我前面,还是那样机警和盛气凌人,两手微微离开他的身体,仿佛要打退对方的碰撞一样,同时把头忽左忽右地转动,配合他那双溜溜转的眼睛。我正要放慢脚步免得赶上他,他停了下来,蛮着眉头向一家珠宝店的橱窗里看。忽然间他看见了我,就往回走,伸出手来。

“怎么啦,尼克?你不愿意跟我握手吗?”

“对啦。你知道我对你的看法。”

“你发疯了,尼克,”他急忙说,“疯得够呛。我不明白你是怎么回事。”

“汤姆,”我质问道,“那天下午你对威尔逊说了什么?”

他一言不发地瞪着我,于是我知道我当时对于不明底细的那几个小时的猜测果然是猜对了。我掉头就走,可是他紧跟上一步,抓住了我的胳臂。

“我对他说了实话,”他说,“他来到我家门口,这时我们正准备出去,后来我让人传话下来说我们不在家,他就想冲上楼来。他已经疯狂到可以杀死我的地步,要是我没告诉他那辆车子是谁的。到了我家里他的手每一分钟都放在他口袋里的一把手枪上……”他突然停住了,态度强硬起来,“就算我告诉他又该怎样?那家伙自己找死。他把你迷惑了,就像他迷惑了黛西一样,其实他是个心肠狠毒的家伙。他撞死了茉特尔就像撞死了一条狗一样,连车子都不停一下。”

我无话可说,除了这个说不出来的事实:事情并不是这样的。

“你不要以为我没有受痛苦——我告诉你,我去退掉那套公寓时,看见那盒倒霉的喂狗的饼干还搁在餐具柜上,我坐下来像小娃娃一样放声大哭。我的天,真难受……”

我不能宽恕他,也不能喜欢他,但是我看到,他所做的事情在他自己看来完全是有理的。一切都是粗心大意、混乱不堪的。汤姆和黛西,他们是粗心大意的人— —他们砸碎了东西,毁灭了人,然后就退缩到自己的金钱或者麻木不仁或者不管什么使他们留在一起的东西之中,让别人去收拾他们的烂摊子……

我跟他握了握手。不肯握手未免太无聊了,因为我突然觉得仿佛我是在跟一个小孩子说话。随后他走进那家珠宝店去买一串珍珠项链——或者也许只是一副袖扣 ——永远摆脱了我这乡下佬吹毛求疵的责难。

我离开的时候,盖茨比的房子还是空着——他草坪上的草长得跟我的一样高了。镇上有一个出租汽车司机载了客人经过大门口没有一次不把车子停一下,用手向里面指指点点。也许出事的那天夜里开车送黛西和盖茨比到东卵的就是他,也许他已经编造了一个别出心裁的故事。我不要听他讲,因此我下火车时总躲开他。

每星期六晚上我都在纽约度过,因为盖茨比那些灯火辉煌、光彩炫目的宴会我记忆犹新,我仍然可以听到微弱的百乐和欢笑的声音不断地从他园子里飘过来,还有一辆辆汽车在地的车道上开来开去。有一晚我确实听见那儿真有一辆汽车,看见车灯照在门口台阶上,但是我并没去调查。大概是最后的一位客人,刚从天涯海角归来,还不知道宴会早已收场了。

在最后那个晚上,箱子已经装好,车子也卖给了杂货店老板,我走过去再看一服那座庞大而杂乱的、意味着失败的房子。白色大理石台阶上有哪个男孩用砖头涂了一个脏字眼儿,映在月光里分外触目,于是我把它擦了,在五头上把鞋子刮得沙沙作响。后来我又溜达到海边,仰天躺在沙滩上。

那些海滨大别墅现在大多已经关闭了,四周几乎没有灯火,除了海湾上一只渡船的幽暗、移动的灯光。当明月上升的时候,那些微不足道的房屋慢慢消逝,直到我逐渐意识到当年为荷兰水手的眼睛放出异彩的这个古岛——新世界的一片清新碧绿的地方。它那些消失了的树木,那些为盖茨比的别墅让路而被砍伐的树木,曾经一度迎风飘拂,低声响应人类最后的也是最伟大的梦想,在那昙花一现的神妙的瞬间,人面对这个新大陆一定屏息惊异,不由自主地堕入他既不理解也不企求的一种美学的观赏中,在历史上最后一次面对着和他感到惊奇的能力相称的奇观。

当我坐在那里缅怀那个古老的、未知的世界时,我也想到了盖茨比第一次认出了黛西的码头尽头的那盏绿灯时所感到的惊奇。他经历了漫长的道路才来到这片蓝色的草坪上,他的梦一定就像是近在眼前,他几乎不可能抓不住的。他不知道那个梦已经丢在他背后了,丢在这个城市那边那一片无垠的混饨之中不知什么地方了,那里合众国的黑黝黝的田野在夜色中向前伸展。

盖茨比信奉这盏绿灯,这个一年年在我们眼前渐渐远去的极乐的未来。它从前逃脱了我们的追求,不过那没关系——明天我们跑得更快一点,把胳臂伸得更远一点……总有一天……

于是我们奋力向前划,逆流向上的小舟,不停地倒退,进入过去。



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