The Couple
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The culmination of the tragedy took place on the great wide comfortable sofa which was almost the oldest possession of their married life.

“All right,” said young Pawling, very serious and sad, “let it go at that. We can’t agree and so we’d better separate. We’ve tried it for a year and we’ve just played the devil with each other’s lives.”

Carrol nodded.

“You mean you’ve played the devil with my life,” she amended.

“No, I don’t. But let it go at that. Let it go anyway. I’m not going to argue any more. You don’t love me and the only thing I don’t understand is why you didn’t find it out before we were married. Now—” Pawling hesitated. “When shall we actually— actually—”

The night air of early May was cool in the room and Carrol crossed over gracefully and stood before the open fire.

“I’d like to stay here until Mother gets back from Europe,” she said, “that’ll be two weeks and I can be packing up. Of course I can go tomorrow if you like but I’ve no place special to go.”

“Don’t think of going,” said Pawling hastily. “Stay right here. I’ll get out myself, first thing in the morning.”

“No. If that’s the way you feel I’ll do the getting out. I just thought if it didn’t annoy you to have me here—”


<… pages 2-36 unavailable>


… corner and approaching the Pawling house. Reaching the kitchen door he apparently realized where he was for he visibly started and made a hasty retreat. Traversing a wide suspicious circle he approached the front door where he announced his presence with a discreet cough.

It was some time before he was able to obtain any attention. He had been noticing the drift of things and he feared for a moment that the place was deserted. But he was wrong: one couple, the couple he dreaded, had gone away, but there was still another couple in the house.

Summary of the story:

The story depicts a young couple, Carrol and Lou Pawling, who are separating after a year of marriage but who have agreed to stay in the same house for a final two weeks until arrangements can be made. Carrol has hired a husband-and-wife team of servants, Reynolds and Katy, who prove to be ridiculously inept and, when dismissed, belligerent. Arguing in their defense, Katy reveals to Pawling that Carrol has been miserable about her impending divorce from him; the revelation sparks reconciliation.

The story is not up to Fitzgerald’s usual standards—the servants’ behavior is implausible.

The complete manuscript is stored at The Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina (Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli collection).

Перевод на русский язык: Пара (А.Б. Руднев).