Tender Is the Night. For the title of his favorite among his books, the one he had wrought most painfully and carefully from his most costly experience, Fitzgerald hit on a phrase from the “Ode to a Nightingale,” evoking that poem’s timeless images of flight, dissolution, and the sweetness of death. It was doubly appropriate in that Keats had always been a touchstone of the verbal magic to which Fitzgerald aspired.
“If you liked The Great Gatsby,” he inscribed the book for a friend, “for God’s sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith.” Into Tender Is the Night he put his hard-earned beliefs: that work was the only dignity; that it didn’t help a serious man to be too much flattered and loved; that money and beauty were treacherous aides; that honor, courtesy, courage—the old-fashioned virtues—were the best guides after all. Beneath the Murphys’ facade (for the Divers’ way of life, their style was that of the Murphys) Fitzgerald had explored his relations with Zelda. He felt she had swallowed him up, or more precisely, that he had allowed himself to be swallowed. Zelda, like Nicole, was ill-fated when he met her, but Diver-Fitzgerald had “chosen Ophelia, chosen the sweet poison and drunk it.” Diver was a clergyman’s son—a “spoiled priest”—and if the worldly side of him was drawn to wealth, his chaste, priestly side mistrusted it and suffered in its toils.
Tender Is the Night was also a confession of faith in the artistic sense; it was Fitzgerald’s most ambitious work, his intended masterpiece. In a series of finely-graduated scenes on a broad canvas, he was aiming at something like a contemporary Vanity Fair, and though Perkins questioned the title, he was sure of the text wherein Fitzgerald’s prose quivered with a new heartbreak power. During the long ordeal of composition, Perkins had been a bulwark. He was now a well-known figure in American publishing—almost a legend the way he wore his hat around the office and played on his deafness with those he didn’t want to listen to. While hoping for a son, he had had five daughters, but some of his authors were like sons to him: Wolfe, the untamed child; Hemingway, the adventurer; Fitzgerald, the prodigal.
It saddened Perkins to see Fitzgerald destroying himself that winter of 1934, though there had never been anything the least moralistic in Perkins’ attitude toward Fitzgerald’s drinking. Perkins was a compassionate man with a special tolerance for the aberrations of the artistic temperament. Fitzgerald would come into Scribners with liquor on his breath and his speech so thick you couldn’t understand him very well, but he worked on his proofs with meticulous care. It was surprising what he could do in a literary way when half seas over. By now he had left La Paix and moved into Baltimore on the grounds that Zelda needed to be near her art school. After a trip to Bermuda, ruined for him by an attack of pleurisy, he had settled at 1307 Park Avenue—a row house with the inevitable white stone steps in a mildly depressing neighborhood. Here Zelda’s sanity had given way and she had gone back to Phipps. After an interim in a New York sanitarium, from which she returned in a catatonic state, she was installed at the Sheppard-Pratt Hospital, whose spacious grounds happened to border La Paix.
Everything now hinged on Tender Is the Night. It would be the test of whether Fitzgerald was a big novelist or a flash in the pan. He had Gatsby to his credit, but he wasn’t sure about Gatsby; he was always remarking that it had “clicked.” Tender Is the Night seemed a more solid achievement, yet he was nervous about it on several counts. The man who had begun it in 1925, who had fashioned the beautiful barbarism of its opening sequences, wasn’t the same man who completed it in 1933; in between, Zelda’s breakdown, the crumbling of American prosperity, and other reverses had changed and darkened his sensibility. Writing the final draft at La Paix, moreover, Fitzgerald had lacked the vitality which sent him dancing over the material of Gatsby nine years before. He had found it necessary to stoke himself with gin and feared it might show in the product, which was published April 12, 1934.
The reception of Tender Is the Night, though mixed, was not in the main unfavorable. One thinks of Fitzgerald being scored by the critics as Keats was scored in Blackwood’s after “Endymion,” but this is the exaggeration of legend. The novel received some excellent notices, and even hostile reviewers bowed to the witchery of its prose. There were admiring letters from other writers, yet perhaps no one expressed more aptly what Fitzgerald wanted his readers to feel than Lady Florence Willerts, who had known the Fitzgeralds slightly on the Riviera.
“I have just this minute finished your book,” she wrote. “It is a living thing—it is a miracle. It is writing and painting in one,—& instantaneous photography too, transmuted into the highest art. You have somehow got it all down—outsides & insides: people & their surroundings to the last fleeting expression of a finger: clothes, houses, rooms & furniture: colour, weather, food—all that makes life and their character. And such an array of people—It is a colossal work—You must have sweated blood to write this—’Gatsby’ was good enough—a classic now. But this is superlative. And you might be a hundred years old in your wisdom & knowledge of the hearts of men & women!”
John Peale Bishop also thought Tender Is the Night an advance over Gatsby. “You have shown us,” he wrote Fitzgerald, “what we have waited so long and impatiently to see, that you are a true, a beautiful and a tragic novelist.” In a letter to Perkins, Bishop spoke of Fitzgerald’s “inimitable invention, gaiety, tenderness and understanding,” of “those native talents which for so long were the envy of us all.” James Branch Cabell thought Tender Is the Night “immeasurably [Fitzgerald’s] best book,” while Morley Callaghan, after reading it, said Fitzgerald was the only American he knew who had the French classic quality of being able to note a point of character and follow it with a witty generalization that did not break the fabric of the prose. “Many writers try it,” said Callaghan, “but you usually get the general observation standing out like a lighthouse on a bleak page.”
Objections to the book centered on the futility of its characters. Left-wingers, especially, were irked by the self-indulgence of this band of neurotic expatriates. Hadn’t Fitzgerald heard of the depression? As one reviewer put it, “Dear Mr. Fitzgerald, you can’t hide from a hurricane under a beach umbrella.” Some found it hard to believe in Dick Diver as a doctor of medicine or in the ostensible reasons for his downfall. Had Nicole and her money really done him in? Wouldn’t this charming weakling have gone to pieces anyway?
Such criticisms, the kind Fitzgerald had foreseen, disturbed him less than Hemingway’s reservations about his artistry. In a letter Hemingway said he liked the book and he didn’t like it, and went on to advance the theory that when one wrote about real people, he had to stick to what had happened, or what would happen, in their actual lives. By taking liberties with the Murphys, by combining their lives with his own and Zelda’s, Fitzgerald had produced not people but damned marvellously faked case histories. Hemingway also said Fitzgerald couldn’t think well enough to write a deliberate masterpiece, and paying attention to the high-brow critics had ruined him and made him self-conscious. But most of all Hemingway disliked the novel’s suggestions of self-pity.
“Forget your personal tragedy,” he wrote. “We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don’t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone who belongs to you.
“About this time I wouldn’t blame you if you gave me a burst. Jesus it’s marvellous to tell other people how to write, live, die, etc.
“I’d like to see you and talk about things with you sober. You were so damned stinking in N.Y. we didn’t get anywhere. You see, Bo, you’re not a tragic character. Neither am I. All we are is writers and what we should do is write. Of all people on earth you needed discipline in your work and instead you marry someone who is jealous of your work, wants to compete with you and ruins you. It’s not as simple as that and I thought Zelda was crazy the first time I met her and you complicated it even more by being in love with her and, of course, you’re a rummy. But you’re no more of a rummy than Joyce is and most good writers are…. You are twice as good now as you were at the time you think you were so marvellous. You know I never thought so much of Gatsby at the time. You can write twice as well now as you ever could. All you need to do is write truly and not care about what the fate of it is.
“Go on and write.”
The letter hurt Fitzgerald, especially the remarks about his private life. It didn’t help to have these painful truths rubbed in, but he answered without bitterness. Hemingway’s “old, charming frankness,” he said, had cleared up the foggy atmosphere through which he felt it was difficult for them to talk any more. Then he went to the mat with Hemingway on the subject of composite characters. “Think of the case of the Renaissance artists,” he said, “and of the Elizabethan dramatists, the first having to superimpose a medieval conception of science and archeology etc. upon the Bible story; and in the second, of Shakespeare’s trying to interpret the results of his own observation of the life around him on the basis of Plutarch’s Lives and Holinshed’s Chronicles. There you must admit that the feat of building a monument out of three kinds of marble was brought off. You can accuse me justly of not having the power to bring it off, but a theory that it can’t be done is highly questionable.”
Tender Is the Night had a brief succes d’estime, though not the popular success Fitzgerald craved. Its sale of 13,000 was pitiful by his standards. While Anthony Adverse and Goodbye, Mr. Chips swept the country, Tender Is the Night hovered for nine weeks in the middle rungs of best-sellerdom, then sank out of sight, taking with it most of its author’s self-confidence.
It was a grim year for Fitzgerald. Dazed and wan, he shuffled about the shut-in, unwholesome house in bathrobe and pajamas, pondering his next move. He rarely went out, caring nothing for society. He wanted Scottie to be a part of it, but his one idea since coming to Baltimore had been to get back on top professionally. His life seemed to be closing in; he had the detachment of a much older man who, having lived hard and fast and run with the best of them, no longer concerned himself with such matters. When he did accept an invitation, there was apt to be unpleasantness. He would lose his temper in arguments about Communism, and once, at a cocktail party, his knees buckled from intoxication and he slid to the floor—no act this time. As he lay on his back, a friend put a calla lily in his hand, giving him the aspect of a corpse, and afterwards he laughed and congratulated the friend for saving him from an embarrassing situation.
He was drinking more than ever, but kept a schedule of his drinks and tried to ration himself. He would take one to start him writing, and if he didn’t stop there, soon he would be drinking not to think but to get lost. Under the circumstances his output was remarkable. During the eight months after he finished the proofs of Tender he wrote and sold three stories for the Post, wrote another which was refused, wrote two-and-a-half stories for Redbook, rewrote three articles of Zelda’s for Esquire and did an original for them to get emergency cash, collaborated on a 10,000-word movie treatment of Tender, wrote an 8,000-word radio script for Gracie Allen (unsold), made five false starts on stories which went from 1,000 to 5,000 words, and wrote a preface to the Modern Library edition of Gatsby.
He used the preface to sound off against the critics. During the twenties, he said, H. L. Mencken, with his love of letters and his contempt for what had previously passed as criticism, created a favorable climate for fiction. But now that Mencken had subsided, no one had come along to take his place, and it saddened Fitzgerald to see young talents expiring from sheer lack of any stage to act on. He cited Nathanael West and Vincent McHugh. When McHugh, some ten years younger than Fitzgerald, had published an unsuccessful first novel during the bank holiday of 1933, he received a telegram from Fitzgerald, whom he had never met, assuring him it was good. McHugh was pleased and touched. It seemed to him this was the way an older writer ought to behave towards a younger writer he believed in. Reading the preface to Gatsby, McHugh was touched again, but this time he smiled a little. Embarked on a new novel, he couldn’t see himself in the act of “expiring,” and as for the lack of a stage, that had always been so except for a few years during the twenties. McHugh concluded that Fitzgerald’s generation had been spoiled.
In the manner of old pros, whose talent no longer surprises them, Fitzgerald had begun to acquire proteges. Part of it was generosity, his everlasting preoccupation with the promises of youth, and part of it was utilitarian; he was looking for collaborators. He had the idea of making some of Ring Lardner’s one-act skits into a Grand Guignol suitable for Broadway, and to help with the continuity he enlisted a youth just out of high school named Garry Morfitt, later Garry Moore of television. One evening Fitzgerald handed Moore a set of colored pencils and told him to write the dialogue of each character in a different color. Moore protested. Fitzgerald insisted. Moore changed pencils until he thought Fitzgerald wasn’t noticing, but suddenly Fitzgerald was standing over him in rebuke. Moore argued that changing pencils didn’t make any difference. “Are you telling me how to write?” cried Fitzgerald. “Get out!” He flung his arm dramatically towards the door, ending the evening’s efforts.
Meanwhile, two other youths were working on movie treatments of Tender. One of the two, aged twenty-one, struck Fitzgerald as having more natural ability than anyone he had met since Hemingway. Fitzgerald staked him to a trip to Hollywood, feeling he deserved the chance to break in and hoping he might sell the script of Tender. Fitzgerald was cheered when the young man wrote back, “Your name is big and hellishly well known in all the studios. You rate out here as a highbrow writer but you rate as a thoroughbred novelist and not a talkie hack and therefor these people look up to you.” The young man’s instinct, as Fitzgerald had said in letters of introduction, was for practical showmanship. “Yes,” wrote the young man, “I am a dirty skunk—but I want to make money with no delusions about Art for Art’s sake.” Soon he was urging Fitzgerald to “lower your highbrow & help on some trash. They buy trash here— they’re quite willing to pay high for it. … If you would forget originality and finesse and think in terms of cheap and melo theatrics you would probably have made a howling success of your visits here and would likewise have no financial worries now.”
In the end the young man was unable to sell his script. He said the studios didn’t care for Tender Is the Night as a book, and because Fitzgerald was considered a millionaire, they thought he would ask too high a price for it.
Weary of struggling, Fitzgerald took refuge in the past. He was writing a series of medieval stories for Redbook which he hoped to make into a novel. The hero of his melodrama, a Frankish knight of the ninth century, was modeled on Hemingway. Visitors at 1307 found him poring over a fortress built with Scottie’s blocks and rearranging piles of books that signified mountains. He liked the research connected with his project, for military history was a hobby almost on a par with Princeton football.
That fall I went to a game with him, and I remember the tears in his eyes as he stood in the darkening stadium waving his hat and singing “Old Nassau.” But it wasn’t always like that; his bizarre humor hadn’t forsaken him. In answer to a questionnaire Fritz Crisler had sent the alumni, Fitzgerald wrote:
You write me again demanding advice concerning the coming season. I hasten to answer—again I insist that using a member of the Board of Trustees at left tackle to replace Charlie (“Asa”) Ceppi and Christian (“Dean”) Eisenhart, would be a mistake. My idea is a backfield composed of Kipke, Eddie Mahan, President Lowell, and anybody we can get for the left side—Pepper Einstein in the center—and then either bring back Light Horse Harry Lee, or else you will fill in yourself for the last place. Or else shift Kadlic to center and fill in with some member of the 75-lb. team.
Failing that, it is as you suggest in your round-robbin, a question of using a member of the Board of Trustees. Then who? and where? There is “Hack” Kalbaugh. There is the late President Witherspoon—but where is he? There is Harkness Hall, but we can’t get it unless we pay for the whole expressage at this end!
The best suggestion is probably to put Rollo Rulon Roll-on at full, and return to the Haughton system.
Now Fritz, I realize that you and I and Tad know more about this thing than I do—nevertheless I want to make my suggestion: all the end men and backfield men and members of the Board of Trustees start off together—then they all reverse their fields led by some of the most prominent professors and alumni—Albie Booth, Bob Lassiter, etc. and almost before we know it we are up against the Yale goal—let me see, where was I? I meant the Lehigh goal—anyhow some goal, perhaps our own. Anyhow the main thing is that the C.W.A. is either dead, or else just beginning, and to use again that variation of the ‘Mexican’ shift that I suggested last year will be just disastrous. Why? Even I can follow it! Martineau comes out of the huddle—or topples back into it—he passes to some member of past years’ teams—(who won’t be named here because of the eligibility rules) and then—well, from there on we go on to practically anything.
But not this year, Fritz Crisler, if you take my advice!
One way or another Princeton was much in Fitzgerald’s thoughts, and when the doctor told him he ought to develop some outside interests, he conceived the plan of giving a lecture series at Princeton on creating fiction. He wrote Dean Gauss that he would do it for nothing, asking merely to use a university lecture hall. He said he had never felt so thoroughly versed in his art, and there was no place he would rather disseminate his knowledge than at Princeton. “To safeguard you against my elaborate reputation,” he added, “I would pledge my word to do no drinking … save what might be served at your table if you should provide me with luncheon before one of these attempts.”
Gauss replied that it was difficult to fit a lecture series into an already complicated program and suggested that Fitzgerald speak before “The Club,” an undergraduate organization that held monthly meetings at the Nass. Fitzgerald wrote back that he knew about “The Club”—they had approached him already —but he wanted to lecture under the authoritative aegis of the university. Moreover, what he had in mind was “pretty serious stuff” which couldn’t be developed in a single evening. But he let the matter drop, having guessed what was probably the truth—that because of his reputation Gauss and the English department hesitated to sponsor him before a large audience. [Fitzgerald’s concern with Princeton was also shown by a plan for enlarging the library which he sent Asa Bushnell in response to a Princeton Alumni Weekly editorial. The books were to be housed in subterranean galleries covered with glass brick, each gallery extending toward a convenient hall. Thus the gallery that housed the scientific books would lead toward the laboratories, the gallery that housed the religious books toward the chapel reading room. In the letter covering his diagrams Fitzgerald wrote, “The idea of a sort of subway, served (as I should envisage it) by electric trucks, and passing a series of alcoves, lit overhead by skylights paralleling the present walks, or by the aforementioned glass brick, is certainly revolutionary. But it would keep the library in the center of the campus. It would solve so many problems and without violating any of the strategical plan for future Princeton architectural development.”]
Thrown back on himself, cut off from the adulation which had become a drug to him, he agonized over the past. How he wished he hadn’t been drinking so much when writing Tender Is the Night! “A short story,” he told Perkins, “can be written on a bottle, but for a novel you need the mental speed that enables you to keep the whole pattern in your head and ruthlessly sacrifice the side shows as Ernest did in ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ “ In his mood of defeat Hemingway seemed invincible. Sometimes Fitzgerald talked as if there weren’t any use getting up in the morning with Hemingway off growing a beard and having adventures and writing about them. When an invitation came to go fishing with Hemingway in Florida, Fitzgerald turned it down because, as he told an intermediary, he “couldn’t face Ernest.” There had also been trouble with Edmund Wilson. At their last meeting Fitzgerald had taken the line that he owed Wilson more than Wilson owed him because he, Fitzgerald, was a “vulgarian” while Wilson was a “scholar” —a comparison which Wilson found subtly irritating. He wanted to know if, at their advanced age, they couldn’t dispense with this “high school (Princeton University) stuff.” Later Fitzgerald went out of his way to call on Wilson and patch it up.
Altogether he had plenty to occupy him in his nights of insomnia, and that fall he wrote an essay called “Sleeping and Waking” which foreshadowed the “Crack-Up” series a year later. Roaming the house in the early morning hours, Fitzgerald goes out on his upstairs porch.
“There is a mist over Baltimore; I cannot count a single steeple. Once more to the study, where my eye is caught by a pile of unfinished business: letters, proofs, notes etc. I start toward it, but No! this would be fatal….
“Back again now to the rear porch, and conditioned by intense fatigue of mind and perverse alertness of the nervous system—like a broken-stringed bow upon a throbbing fiddle —I see the real horror develop over the roof-tops, and in the strident horns of night-owl taxis and the shrill monody of revelers’ arrival over the way. Horror and waste—
“—Waste and horror—what I might have been and done that is lost, spent, gone, dissipated, unrecapturable. I could have acted thus, refrained from this, been bold where I was timid, cautious where I was rash.
“I need not have hurt her like that.
“Nor said this to him.
“Nor broken myself trying to break what was unbreakable.
“The horror has come now like a storm—what if this night prefigured the night after death—what if all thereafter was an eternal quivering on the edge of an abyss, with everything base and vicious in oneself urging one forward and the baseness and viciousness of the world just ahead. No choice, no road, no hope—only the endless repetition of the sordid and the semi-tragic. Or to stand forever, perhaps, on the threshold of life unable to pass it and return to it. I am a ghost now as the clock strikes four.”
Father Barron, the priest he had liked in St. Paul, was living in Washington and came to see him a few times, but it was sad for them both. “I’m keeping my eye on Scott,” Barron told a friend, “but I don’t want to say too much. I’m afraid he might turn on me.” Max Perkins tried a different approach. He had introduced Fitzgerald to a charming, intelligent girl named Elizabeth Lemmon, whose family owned an historic mansion near Middleburg, Virginia. (On one of the panes were Jeb Stuart’s initials, which the Gallant Pelham had scratched with his diamond ring while waiting for his horse to be brought to the door.) When Fitzgerald felt well enough, he would visit Elizabeth in Middleburg and roam the nearby battlefields. One day they stopped at a roadside stand to buy him a pack of Chesterfields, and when there weren’t any he said, “That’s too bad—I’ve been driving all over the Shenandoah Valley with Mrs. Roosevelt here, and I wanted to be photographed with her smoking a Chesterfield.” The joke fell flat; the vendor thought Fitzgerald was crazy. Another time he tiptoed into a delicatessen, cupped his hands, and whispered, “Have you got a Virginia ham?” The man behind the counter looked at him a moment, then said, “Down the hall, sir, and the first door on your right.”
Fitzgerald was always fabricating situations that would win him the attention he had won so effortlessly in the past, yet he was shy and self-effacing with people he respected. When Elizabeth introduced him to General Billy Mitchell, the crusader for air power, they discussed some articles Mitchell had been writing for the Post, and as they parted Fitzgerald said— as if he were the veriest beginner—“I write too.” Mitchell was delighted with him and invited him to come around and see his trophies, which Fitzgerald did.
Christmas Eve, Gertrude Stein, visiting America for the first time in thirty years, had tea at the Fitzgeralds’. Miss Stein was now the sententious oracle of her later days, with the close-cropped hair brushed forward that gave her the look of a Roman Emperor. She and Fitzgerald hadn’t seen each other more than half-a-dozen times, but they had remained mutually admiring, and Fitzgerald had found comfort in her recent prophecy that he would be read when many of his well-known contemporaries were forgotten.
During the visit, Zelda came in with some of her paintings, and Fitzgerald asked Miss Stein to take any ones she pleased. She chose two which Zelda had promised her doctor.
“But dear,” said Fitzgerald, “you don’t understand. Gertrude will hang them in her salon in Paris and you will be famous. She has been kinder to me than almost anyone and I’d like to give her something.”
“If she has been as kind to you as my doctor has been to me,” said Zelda, “you should give her everything you own, but she can’t have those paintings.”
In the end Miss Stein chose two others.
When Scottie appeared, Miss Stein drew from the pocket of her homespun skirt a handful of hazel nuts which she had gathered on her afternoon walk. She gave one to Scottie, who wanted it autographed.
“That would be appropriate,” said Miss Stein, inscribing it.
The conversation turned to literature and Miss Stein said that sentences must not leak—“they must not have bad plumbing.”
“My God!” said Fitzgerald. “If that isn’t a woman’s point of view! Gertrude, give us a sentence that has good plumbing.”
“Your dedication to The Great Gatsby—’Once again to Zelda.’ “ Miss Stein cupped her hands. “It’s complete, it holds together, it doesn’t leak.”
Afterwards, Fitzgerald wrote Gertrude Stein that Christmas Eve had been well spent in the company of her handsome face and wise mind and sentences “that never leak.”
As for Zelda, Fitzgerald had to face the fact that she would never be well enough to live permanently outside an institution. Her illness had been the drama of the past five years. “I left my capacity for hoping on the little roads that led to Zelda’s sanitarium,” he wrote in his notebook.
A New York exhibit of her paintings had been a disappointment. Her art, like her writing, bespoke a powerful, original and lyrical personality with great natural talent, but a psychopathic element was also visible: in her rendering of ballet dancers with the emphasis on their swollen, distorted feet; in the Negro cook picking a chicken—that one was all great black hands. One day when Scott had called for Zelda at the hospital and they were strolling around La Paix, she tried to throw herself in front of the train that ran at rare intervals between our land and that of Sheppard-Pratt, and he barely succeeded in preventing her. From now on he would speak of her as his “invalid,” and in a moment’s bitterness he told a friend, “Can you imagine what it’s like being tied to a dead hand?” But he never stopped loving the memory of what she had been, and that love informed a poem he wrote near the end of this harrowing year. [Time described Zelda’s exhibit as follows: “Last week in Cary Ross’s Manhattan studio, Zelda Fitzgerald showed her pictures, made her latest bid for fame. The work of a brilliant introvert, they were vividly painted, intensely rhythmic. A pinkish reminiscence of her ballet days showed figures with enlarged legs and feet—a trick she may have learned from Picasso. An impression of a Dartmouth football game made the stadium look like the portals of a theatre, the players like dancers. Chinese Theatre was a gnarled mass of acrobats with an indicated audience for background. There were two impressionistic portraits of her husband, a verdant Spring in the Country geometrically laced with telephone wires.”]
Do you remember, before keys turned in the locks,
When life was a close-up, and not an occasional letter,
That I hated to swim naked from the rocks
While you liked absolutely nothing better?
Do you remember many hotel bureaus that had
Only three drawers? But the only bother
Was that each of us got holy, then got mad,
Trying to give the third one to the other.
East, West, the little car turned, right or wrong
Up an erroneous Alp, an unmapped Savoy river.
We blamed each other in cadences acid and strong
And, in an hour, laughed and called it liver.
And, though the end was desolate and unkind:
To turn the calendar at June and find December
On the next leaf; still, stupid-got with grief, I find
These are the only quarrels that I can remember.
Published as Scott Fitzgerald by Andrew Turnbull (New York: Scribners, 1962; London: Bodley Head, 1962).