The Notebooks
of F. Scott Fitzgerald


(K) Karacters

902 A Portrait
She will never be able to build a house. She hops herself up on crazy arrogance at intervals and wanders around in the woods chopping down everything that looks like a tree (vide: sixteen or twenty short stories in the last year all of them about as interesting as the average high-school product and yet all of them “talented.”) When she comes near to making a clearing it looks too much to her like all the other clearings she’s ever seen so she fills it up with rubbish and debris and is ashamed even to speak of it afterwards. Driven, ordered, organized from without, she is a very useful individual—but her dominant idea and goal is freedom without responsibility which is like gold without metal, spring without winter, youth without age, one of those maddening, coo-coo mirages of wild riches which make her a typical product of our generation. She is by no means lazy yet when she chops down a tree she calls it work—whether it is in the clearing or not. She makes no distinction between work and mere sweat—less in the last few years since she has had arbitrarily to be led or driven.

903 Someone who was as if heart and brain had been removed and were kept in canopic vase.

904 Lonsdale: You don’t want to drink so much because you’ll make a lot of mistakes and develop sensibility and that’s a bad trait for business men.

905 He had once been a pederast and he had perfected a trick of writing about all his affairs as if his boy friends had been girls, thus achieving feminine types of a certain spurious originality. (See Proust, Cocteau and Noel Coward.)

906 A dignity that would have been heavy save that behind it and carefully overlaid with gentleness, something bitter and bored showed through.

907 There was, for instance, Mr. Percy Wrackham, the branch manager, who spent his time making lists of the Princeton football team, and of the second team and the third team; one busy morning he made a list of all the quarterbacks at Princeton for thirty years. He was utterly unable to concentrate. His drawer was always full of such lists.

908 He abandoned the younger generation which had treated him so shabbily, and, using the connections he had made, blossomed out as a man of the world. His apprenticeship had been hard, but he had served it faithfully, and now he walked sure-footed through the dangerous labyrinths of snobbery. People abruptly forgot everything about him except that they liked him and that he was usually around; so, as it frequently happens, he attained his position less through his positive virtues than through his ability to take it on the chin.

909 He was a warrior; for him, peace was only the interval between wars, and peace was destroying him.

910 “Sure, more strong here. More peasants come, with strength and odor of ground.” (About U. of M. in eyes of Japanese.)

911 Frank Crowninschild and coffee house.

912 “Against my better judgment,” he would say, having no judgment and “obviously” and “precisely.”

913 About that. From the moment when, as a boy of twenty, his handsome eyes had gazed off into imaginary distance of a Griffith Western, his audience had been really watching the progress of s straightforward, slow-thinking, romantic man through an accidentally glamorous life.

914 Young Fox “America missed a great opportunity by not forgiving debts.”

915 A young lady “in pictures” who once, in the boom days of 1919, had been almost a star. It had been announced in the movie magazines that she was to “have her own company” but the company had never materialized. The second girl did interviews with “cinema personalities” interviews which began “When one thinks of Lottie Jarvis, one pictures a voluptuous tigress of a woman.”

916 The man who entertained Scottie in Brittany.

917 Minnie the Moocher stabbed me.

918 He has a dark future. He hates everything.

919 But if they haven’t it all comes out the same. Only if they control themselves they forget their emotion and so they think they haven’t missed anything.

920 “Don’t get the idea that Seth doesn’t ask anything. He’s lived all his life off better minds than his own.”

921 “Stick-around” spirit from Duffy

922 Uncle Phil idea about this kind uncle or aunt—how far is he indulging himself—(not that it matters except how far is his—self-indulgence to be trusted.)

923 Nicole’s attitude toward sickness was either a sympathy toward a tired or convalescent relation who didn’t need it, and which therefore was mere sentimentality, or else a fear when they were absolutely threatened with death, toward real sickness—dirty, boring, unsympathetic she could control no attitude—she had brought up selfish in that regard. Often this was a source of anger and contempt in her to Dick.

924 Idea about Nicole can do everything, extroverts toward everything save people so earth, flowers, pictures, voices, comparisons seem to writhe—no rest wherever she turns, like a tom-tom beat. Escapes over the line where in fantasy alone she finds rest.

925 No first old man in an amateur production of a Victorian comedy was ever more pricked and prodded by the daily phonomens of life than was

926 Mrs. Rogers’ voice drifted off on an indefinite note. She had never in her life compassed a generality until it had fallen familiarly on her ear from constant repetition.

927 Instinct of Peggy Joyce collecting jewelry instead of bonds

928 NORA LANGHORNE FLYNN (Now 1935—age 42 or 43)
Born 1892—11th child—Greenwood, Virginia
Stuff from little niggers for Corbett-Fitzsimmons movie
Visited oldest sister Lady Astor
Married 1910—Age 18—Two children
Met Lefty Flinn summer 1914. Lefty at piano. Like children. Picture of Madonna. One month—bigamy—West Nora to England. Letters intercepted
Lefty married (1) Palmer—children 2 Nora celebate from husband
War nurse (Capt.)
(2) Viola Dana Officer tying tie.
Scotsman who wishes she had been born a housemaid
15 years pass. Chil­dren grown
Letter in 1931. Lefty arrives Carleton drunk. Flight to Paris, Riviera, Africa—followed by lover with mustache. Lady Astor hell, Hoyty, etc.
Marriage. America 1931-1935
His disappearances.

929 List of troubles

930 He was wearing old white duck trousers with a Spanish flair and a few strange coins nodding at their seams and a striped Riviera sweater and straw shoes from the Bahamas, and an ancient Mexican hat. It was, for him, a typical costume Diana thought. Always at Christmas she arranged to get him some odd foreign importation from parts as far away as possible from Loudoun County.

931 Boyd’s lordly manner not quite carried off. Contrast with Hitchcock’s.

932 Erskine Gwynn

933 Eleanor Hill

934 Tuolmans

935 For the first week he was called Aquilla’s brother (“That Frenchman,” he reported at home, “kep’ a-callin me Aquilla’s brother. ’Aquilla’s brother!’ he’d call, till I hardly knew who I was.”) because Aquilla’s return was expected daily, and as time passed the question was never investigated as to whether he had a name of his own. So that during the hours he spent in Rene’s house he had, to himself at least, hardly any identity at all.

936 Called him Aquilla with a sort of noise after it like Aquilla boom as a sort of recognition that it was not quite his name.

937 A small tongue-tied colored boy. He had come one day to replace Aquilla who had an aching tooth.

938 When I like men I want to be like them—I want to lose the outer qualities that give me my individuality and be like them. I don’t want the man I want to absorb into myself all the qualities that make him attractive and leave him out. I cling to my own inards. When I like women I want to own them, to dominate them, to have them admire me.

939 Like so many “men’s women” she hid behind girls when available, as if challenging a man to break through and rescue her. Any group she was with became automatically a little club, protected by her frail, almost ethereal strength, tensile strength of thin fine wires.

940 The old woman afraid of aeroplanes

941 Alec had a terrible temper and had once chased him for ten blocks with a sharp butcher knife intending to cut him smaller. Claire once chased him half that far with a dead rat. But he was actually braver than either of them—he caught behind the bat without a mask and when he was thirteen he broke three ribs in football tackling a boy who weighed a hundred and seventy.

942 When he was despised it was rather more than usually annoying, the last stages of throwing him over I mean. For he knew it as soon if not sooner than you, and seemed to hang about analyzing your actual method of accomplishing the business.

943 Fatality of Beauty

944 Man who instinctively with people he liked turned the left side of face the ugly half people, had corresponding reacton on brain, spinal chord etc. and had charm.
Contrariwise right side of face exact opposite. Perfect, made him self conscious paralyzed mental and nervous etc.
To be worked out.

945 Mr. Chambers of Montgomery as character

946 The nervous quarrel between husband and wife, which had already caused sensitive passengers to have their tables changed in the dining salon

947 Jitters clinic, given by Ruby Robert Kelly who had died of jitters there.

948 Seemed to extend in its own right out of the ordinary world of courtesy.

949 He had a knowledge of the interior of Skull and Bones

950 You were so brave about people, George. Whoever it was, you walked right up to them and tore something aside as if it was in your way and began to know them. I tried to make love to you, just like the rest, but it was difficult. You drew people right up close to you and held them there, not able to move either way.

951 Addresses in his pocket—mostly bootleggers and psychiatrists.

952 Inescapable racial childishness. In the act of enjoying anything wanted to tell. Sandy Annabel etc. trying to get everything out of first meeting.

953 He seldom exuded liquor because now he had tuberculosis and couldn’t breathe very freely.

954 Just when somebody’s taken him up and is making a big fuss over him he pours the soup down his hostess’ back, kisses the serving maid and passes out in the dog kennel. But he’s done it too often. He’s run through about everybody, until there’s no one left.

955 “You mustn’t do that, Abe,” protested Mary. “Abe spends half his time living up to engagements he make when he’s tight. This spring in Paris he used to take dozens of cards and scraps of paper out of his pockets every morning, all scrawled with dates and obligations. He’d sit and brood over them for an hour before he dared tell me who was coming to lunch.”

956 I’ve given parties that have made Indian rajahs green with envy. I’ve had prima donnas break $10,000 engagements to come to my smallest dinners. When you were still playing button back in Ohio I entertained on a cruising trip that was so much fun that I had to sink my yacht to make the guests go home.

957 Mother had explained his faults to Seth and found him extremely understanding.

958 She wanted to be ringmaster—for awhile. In somebody else’s circus—a father’s circus. “Look here my father owns this circus. Give me the whip. I don’t know how or why I snap it but my father owns mis circus. Give me your mask, clown, acrobat your trapeze, etc.

959 Elsa was a social impressario of considerable ability but her ambition had driven her to please so many worthless people that she had become, so to speak, a sort of lowest common denominator of all her clients.

960 Zelda on Gerald’s Irishness, face moving first.

961 Hates old things, the past, Provence. A courtier.

962 Constance Talmage on my middle-class snobbishness. Also Fanny Bryce

963 Throw blood from one side of the head to another (Cuban)

964 There is undoubtedly something funny about not being a lady, or rather about being a gold digger. You’ve got to laugh a lot like Constance Talmage and Ruth.

965 Rosalind always hiding in closets till the battle is over and then coming back to say, “I told you so.”

966 Don, unlike Elsa Maxwell, yearned after higher things. This yearning he indulged in a series of modest parodies which he declared were “better than Candide.” However the attempt to convince himself brought on a short paranoia during which he made efforts to pull down the pillars on all our heads and hide in the ruins. We were through, he said,—then, satisfied he returned to suck. The Whitneys bought him up cheap and turned him out to grass on the private golf links—for all I know he is still there.

967 Once tried to get up a ship’s party on a ferry boat.

968 You had to have head lettuce and mayonaise and she realized vaguely that the latter was seldom found in a wild state. Brought up in apartment hotels and married at the beginning of the delicatessen age, Vivian had not learned to cook anything save a strange liquid that in emergencies she evolved from the coffee bean; she was most familiar with the product of the soil in forms in such highly evolved forms as “triple combination sandwiches.” A farm to her was a place where weary butterflies retired with their lovers after the last fade out in the movies.

969 Vivian Barnaby was just what her husband had made her, no masterpiece. She was pretty in a plaintive key, so was the child, and momentarily when you first met them you liked them for a certain innocence, a blowy immaturity—momentarily, that was all.

970 Perhaps a drunk with great bursts of sentimentality or resentment or maudlin grief.

971 He saw men acutely and he saw them small, and he was not invariably amused—it was obvious that his occasional dry humor was washed over the brim of an over full vessel. Francis’ first instinct was to defer to him as to an older man, a method of not bothering him, but he saw that Herkimer turned away from delicacy even more than from the commonness to which he was adjusted.

972 Roscoe’s gestures increasingly large and increasingly fall short. Again he “hates old things.”

973 Greatest vitality goes into displeasure and discontent

974 Irving—on the bust at 50

975 Paul Nelson from School Play Onward

976 He said that no matter what happened he always carried about his own can of olive oil. He had a large collection of lead soldiers and considered Ludendorf’s memoirs one of the greatest books ever written. When McKisco said that history was already ruined by too much about war Monsieur Brugerol’s mouth twisted fiercely under his hooked nose and as he answered that history is a figured curtain, hiding that terrible door into the part through which we all must go.

977 Capable of imaginative rudeness

978 Mother always waiting in waiting-rooms an hour early, etc. pulled forward by an irresistible urge of boredom and vitality.

979 Egloff as being the typical uncertain tentative attitude

980 Weaver

981 Rosalind talks in several more syllables than she thinks in.

982 He was one of those men who had a charger; she always knew it was tethered outside, chafing at its bit. But now, for once, she didn’t hear it, though she listened for the distant snort and fidgeting of hoofs.

983 Like most men who do not smoke he was seldom still and his moments of immobility were more taut and noticeable.

984 Someone with a low voice who feels humble about it.

985 About a man looking as if he was made up for a role he couldn’t play.

986 Fat people—good humor vs. Romance—sweat

987 Mrs. Smith had been born on the edge of an imaginary precipice and had lived there ever since, looking over the precipice every half hour in horror and yet unable to get herself away.

988 surprised that a creature so emotionally tender and torn as himself should have been able to set up such strong defenses around his will.

989 My father is very much alive at something over a hundred and always resents the fact that the fathers of most of the principal characters in my books are dead before the book begins. To please him I once had a father stagger in and out at the end of the book but he was far from flattered—however, this is a short word on money lending. Father passed on to me certain inerradicable tastes in peotry. The Raven and the Belles, The Prisoner of Chillon (it’s the fact that at the moment I’m looking down at the original that makes me write this)

990 One button always showed at front of his trousers.

991 Please? screamed English girl.

992 Family explained or damned by its dog

993 English girl: “For over 250 years there hasn’t been a battle there—match that.”

994 Girl’s tenderness against man’s bogus humanity.

995 The drunk on Majestic and his 100 yard dash.

996 Mrs. Widdle in my book either—she was bound to sleep with someone or to humiliate them—she didn’t care which.

997 Some of those who have known him would be content to have him spared my bitterness which roams in and out of sacred gardens. And some day I may meet him again it might be his whim to honor me once more with a moment or so of—, hand me my self respect, my justification on a platter as he had a way of doing.

998 How if I said I was impressed by “can” motif in E. M.

999 Roscoe made up Dinah

1000 Roscoe as a reader. A reader’s mind. One’s own experience, the necessity for using which educated many fiction writers never existed for him. Indeed he is one of those for whom the visual world does not exist. He reads and his mind is stimulated; before it is assimilated (i.e. associate it with?) he has an elation, as if he had thought of it himself, almost a creative ecstacy. He can hardly wait to get at a chance to work it in

1001 Bogus girl who reads Ulysses, Wharton gives her a pain in the eye.

1002 As to Ernest as a boy—reckless, adventurous, etc. Yet it is undeniable that the dark was peopled for him. His bravery and acquired characteristics.

1003 Donald Stewart ecstacy about Lew Cody in the act.

1004 All girls know some way to kill time but Scottie knows all the ways.

1005 I never know what Scottie is—I only know what she’s like. This year she seems to have a certain community of purpose with the Scarlet Pimpernel.

1006 Hank the cop and the clapper.

1007 For Don communism is a spiritual exercise. He’s making it his own.

1008 Don: An intellectual simpleton. He pleases you not by direct design but because his desire to please is so intense that it is disarming. He pleases you most perhaps when his very words are irritants.

1009 Zeld is frou-frou, her frou-frou characteristics.

1010 Boy from the Tropics

That wonderful book, Soldiers of Fortune was a “gross representation”. He was least objectionable when he talked about what they did to Igarottes and how there were natives in the backhills of Luzon who had tails of real fur.


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