F. Scott Fitzgerald.
All that afternoon Francis knew that part of Dinah wanted to be rid of him, to be swiftly busy with her own affairs. She was short in her speech when he went with her persistently to a milliners shop and she made him wait outside; he spent the time gazing at a miniature of the battlefields in the window of a tourist office. There was dust gathered on the tangle of tiny tree trunks, wrecked toy tanks, broken caissons, and roofless doll houses marked Verdun, Cote 304, Cambrai, and the panorama seemed as old as the war itself; it depressed him as it lay baking and fading in the sun. He grew cross at waiting but as Dinah came out of the shop the middle phase of the day moved past, the sky deepened and they both relaxed a little feeling the better hours ahead. Still she insisted she had things to do but instinct told him that had she entirely wanted to be rid of him she could have easily done so and he took this as a concession.
He tried to get her to go to the Ritz but she wouldnt and they had tea at Sherrys.
Youll both be tired of me soon, he said. I hear you get tired of everybody.
No. Its just that you have quarrels or you go to new places and then you like the people that you see most ofdont you think?
Please dont get tired of me.
I like old friends.
Am I an old friend?
Youll age, she laughed.
Because youre the two most charming people Ive ever met. He knew that neither of them ever got tired of that, and in addition he meant it. The sound of it and the tea excited him and he struck a more decided note. Im falling terribly in love with you and I know its absurdno, but really.
She drew on her gloves and suddenly time seemed to be getting short, night coming, the end coming. And as time grew shorter so her qualities grew larger inside the reduced dimension. She was kinder and sweeter; the bravery of all her words grewthose words of hers that it seemed brave for her to speak at all, as if she alone knew how presumptuous it was to speak. Her mouth which in youth had been hurt so much, frightened so persistently into silence by a mother or a series of governesses, became now for a moment something that could be hurt again, and when she stood up she was taller, very tall, flowering in a beautiful straight line from her perfect hat.
I wont go yet, he said, and reluctantly she sat down again; he was not sure what he was going to say but unexpectedly he was saying it, I know that being in love with you leads nowhere but I cant help itthose things happen. You belong to Seth and I like him better than any man I know, but there you are, Im in love with you. He paused and then leaned forward, I love you, Dinah. I love your dear face and your dear self.
I suppose this was your line to every girl in Hollywood.
No. There was only one there. And that was different. She was older.
So am I.
No, I mean really olderalmostfaded. I was crazy about her and then when she liked me she seemed old. And then when I broke it off I was sorry and I used to have a queer painful feeling when I saw her, but I never wanted to go back.
She sat balanced on the edge of her chair, not restless but resistant. She sat that way for half an hour while they drank a port. He knew that she was entirely womanly, that she would not help him or encourage him by so much as a word and he knew that Seth was always with her, was with her now, but he knew too that in different degrees they were both in the grey gentle world of a hangover when the nerves relax in bunches like piano strings and crackle suddenly like wicker chairs. The nerves so raw and tender must surely join other nerves, lips to lips, breast to breast.
In the taxi they clung together and she kissed him really and they stayed close. They stopped thinking with an almost painful relief, stopped seeing; they only breathed and sought each other. Their lips became things interchangeably owned in common but twice she whispered dont in a cool little voice with no doubt in it whatever.
The lift in her apartment house was broken. As she started up the stairs he went beside her and at a touch of his hand she stopped at the first landing. By the dimming light of a window above they embraced breathlessly. Again he went with hershe was careful on the next landing, on the third more careful still. On the nextthere were three moreshe stopped halfway and kissed him fleetingly good-bye. At his urgency she walked down with him to the one below. Then it was good-bye with their arms stretching to touch hands along the diagonals of the bannister and then the fingers slipping apart. The next floor swallowed her, then the next diminishing; a door opened and closed above.
Across the street Francis lingered a moment, in love now and wildly jealous of her absence watching the last sunlight smoulder on the apartments big front windows. Even as he watched a taxi drove up and Seth got out and went into the house. His step was quick and alert as if he had just come from some great doings and was hurrying on toward others, organizer of gaiety, master of a richly encrusted, esoteric happiness. His hat was a grand hat and he carried a heavy stick and thin yellow gloves. Francis thought what a good time everyone would have who was with him tonight, and the aura of Seths good taste cooled his blood for a moment.
Yes, he said to himself, theyre the most attractive people in the world. Absolutely perfect.
He hurried on for he was to meet that girl a little after eight.
When Francis reached the bar where he had arranged to meet Wanda Breasted he found her in company of three other girls. They were tall slender girls with rather small, well-carried heads, groomed to the preciseness of manikins heads, and charming floating faces. They had evidently been in the bar a long time but none of them was tight and when Wanda presented Francis, their heads above their black tailored suits waved gracefully at him like cobras hoods or long-stemmed flowers in the wind. Francis had an immediate feeling that he had met all three of them somewhere before. Wanda whispered to him that they were all having dinner togethershe couldnt avoid it, but he was not to pay for anything for it was Miss Harts party and there was another young man, now out telephoning, who would join them presently.
Wanda said to the others that he was a friend of Seth Pipers and at once the three women extended themselves toward him expressing surprise and interest that the Pipers were in Paris. The girl whose mouth twisted kindly under a hooked nose said:
Not that I should be concernedafter their being so obviously fed up with me.
Then the tallest and handsomest girl said bitterly, I must say I prefer people whose lives have more corrugated surfaces. Seth might be all right if shed give him a chance.
Miss Hart, a boyish, jaunty girl who might have been anything between twenty-five and thirty-five, spoke in a hearty voice.
After all, darling, whats so extraordinary about them. Ive met them here and there and after expecting at least St. Louis and Joan of Arc I havent been able to get really excited about them.
Seths the extraordinary one, said the girl the Pipers were fed up with. Dinahs just a very loyal, frank person.
A loyal frank person, repeated the other bitterly. Yesshes going to be that if she has to bitch everybody in the world to do it.
Francis was furious but he was somewhat intimidated by their height and sleekness and by the attentive and finely critical look they bent upon him whenever he opened his mouth to speak. Feeling himself slipping here and there among changing indignations he gave up and told himself how hard and superficial everyone was after Seth and Dinah. They were in any case not talking to him, but to each other. Again they reminded him of something and again it slipped away.
I dont really think she likes all this changing around of friends, insisted Miss Taube. Of course my private opinion is that Seth made her up.
But why the entirely liquid Mr. Grant? asked Miss Hart.
Thats Mrs. GrantSeth will stand a lot from anyone capable of telling him in new ways how charming he is.
My God! muttered Francisthey all threw him a flinching glance and Miss Taube said conciliatingly:
After all, Im only sorry Seth doesnt like me any moreand some day it might be his whim to honor me once again with a moment or so of his attentions, and hand me my self-respect, my justification on a platter as he has a way of doing.
The handsomest head swayed forward eagerly like a cobras hood.
Once I tried to paint him. I know how his face goes but I always had one eye left over. The answer was that his eyes are too close together.
My God, said Francis again.
So are mine, dearest. Seths great quality is in that politeness of his that seems to extend right out of the ordinary world of courtesy. One advantage of politeness like that in a man is to be able to deal with women on our own groundsplease or torture them as it may prove necessary. And not fire random shots from his own camp many miles away. Like Big Bertha you know, accidentally slaying whole congregations.
What struck me is their self-satisfaction, their positive admiration for their own things
Which you must admit are usually the best things.
Oh, they give a good showId be the last one to ever deny that. I remember that famous houseboat party. And Im willing to admit that Seth is quite amusingbut so Irishhis face begins to move before he says anything in that Irish way. And those phrases he uses over and over: Oldest inhabitant gnawed by rodentshow many times have you heard him say that? And that one way of imitating everything, whether its an Englishman or a billy goathe widens his nostrils, waves his head from side to side and talks through his nose.
Everybody has only one way of imitating that they use for everything.
Sometime during this conversation they were joined by the young man who had been telephoning. To Francis disgust he was One of the Boys, and Francis searched vainly for any way he might extricate himself from the situation. He looked reproachfully at Wanda who smiled back encouraginglyand again his desire for her was renewed. She was a special red and white type that always aroused him and certainly the pressure of her hand the other day had been in a sense a promise, of how much he couldnt say.
Through dinner he felt his mind wandering off the companythings were so dead after the Pipers and he wondered what they were doing tonight. They had saved tonight for something, perhaps he thought with a sudden sense of being shut outperhaps to be alone.
He drank a lot of champagne at dinner but was taciturn and had the feeling that the three girls didnt like him any more than he liked them. First he felt this only casually but later it deepened and dancing afterwards at the Boeuf sur le Toit he saw they were inclined to be cold with him.
Im getting tight and cross, he thought, Id better go home. What a rotten evening. What bum people. He asked Wanda if they couldnt go.
Yes, but wait, she answered. Theyll be furious if I take you off.
Well, who are they? Why should you care?
I dont, but wait.
They were dancing close together and suddenly he told her he wanted her. Surely her smile as she bent back and looked up at him was consent, yet she said:
Isnt this enough?
Of course not.
Dont you think this is enough?
He got nothing more than that from her but his next glass of champagne made him genial at last; he even consented to move on to another place but Miss Carmichael was in the taxi with Wanda and himself and he could do no more than press her hand.
He knew they were girls of some distinctionhe did not make the mistake of lumping them as bluestockings or Lesbians. They were three tall rich American girls and that was the principal thing about them. To be a tall rich American girl is a form of hereditary achievement whether or not progress does eventually culminate in her insouciant promenade along the steel girder of our prosperity. Nevertheless it was increasingly clear to him that Miss Taube had more immediate concernsthere was a flick of the lip somewhere, a bending of the smile toward some indirection, a momentary lifting and dropping of the curtain over a hidden passage. An hour later he came out of somewhere to a taxi whither they had preceded him and found Wanda limp and drunk in Miss Taubes arms.
Whats the idea? he demanded furiously.
Miss Taube smiled at him. Wanda opened her eyes sleepily and said:
Whats all this business? he repeated.
I love Wanda, said Miss Taube.
Vivian is a nice girl, said Wanda. Come sit back here with us.
Why cant you get out of the taxicab and go home with your friends, said Francis harshly to Miss Taube. You know you have no business to do this. Shes tight.
I love Wanda, repeated Miss Taube good-naturedly.
I dont care. Please get out.
In answer Wanda drew the girl close to her again, whereupon in a spasm of fury Francis opened the door, took her by the arm and before the girl understood his purpose deposited her in a sitting position on the curb.
This is perfectly outrageous! she cried.
I should say it is! he agreed, his voice trembling. A chasseur and several by-standers hurried up; Francis spoke to the driver and got into the cab quickly. The incident had wakened Wanda.
Why did you do that? she demanded. Ill have to go back.
Do you realize what she was doing?
Vivians a nice girl.
I dont feel good.
Whats your address?
She told him, and he sat back robbed and glowering. The sight of this almost legendary aberration in action had spoiled some great series of human facts for him, as it had when he had first become aware of its other face some years before. Better Hollywoods bizarre variations on the normal, with George Collins on the phone ordering twelve beautiful girls for dinner, none over nineteen. He wanted to go back and kill that girl.
The cab stopped in front of a cluster of murky brown doors so alike that to be identified it seemed that hers must be counted off from the abutting blackness of an alley.
Can you get in alone?
Maybe. But getting from the cab she wobbled helplessly and he helped her to the door and up an ancient circular stairway to her apartment where he fumbled in her bag for the key.
It was one room in listless disorder, opening off a bathroom with a tin tub. The day bed was covered with a length of blue felt on which reversed letters of ravelled thread spelled out Bryn Mawr1924. Wanda went into the bathroom without speaking and Francis opened a window which looked on a narrow and tubular court, grey as rats, but echoing at the moment to a plaintive and peculiar music. It was two men chanting in an unfamiliar language full of Ks and Lshe leaned out but he could not see them; there was obviously a religious significance in the sounds, and tired and emotionless he let them pray for him too, but what for, save that he should never lose himself in the darkness of his own mind, he did not know. He felt no passion, only a lowering of his facultiesbut they tightened with a nervous wrench of his heart at the sound of a pistol shot from the bathroom.
Ah, my! he gasped.
In a second he opened the door of the bathroom. Wanda faced him weakly with a small pistol wobbling in her hand. It was an old pistol for as he took it away from her a slice of pearl came off the handle and fell on the floor.
What do you want to do? he asked imperatively.
I dont know, I was just shooting it.
She sat down on the water closet with a coquettish smile. Her eyes, glazed a few minutes since, were full of an impish malice.
Whats the trouble? Are you in any trouble?
Nobodys in trouble. Nothings trouble. Everybody is responsible for what they do.
Youre not, youre tight.
Any minute he expected a knocking at the door but perhaps from fear or indifference, nothing stirred in the houseeven the singing in the areaway continued, sad as a flute, and moment by moment they were more alone in the flat.
Youd better go to bed, he said.
She laughed scornfully.
Go to bed and lie there? What for?
Well he said, after considering unsuccessfully, I dont like to go away and leave you like this. Are you all right now?
Oh, get out! she said unpleasantly. Leave me my pistol.
He took out the little shells and handed the gun to her, but at the look of childish craftiness in her eyes he took it back quickly.
Youve got more shells. Look here, youre behaving like an idiot. Whats the matterare you broke?
She shook her head.
Just lousy with money.
Is it something about that girl?
Her eyes narrowed defiantly.
Shes a very nice girl. Shes been very good to me.
She wasnt behaving very well tonight.
Shes very nice. Suddenly she seemed to remember. You were the one. You pulled her out of the cab into the public gutter. Shell never forgive that, she shook her head solemnly, nevernever. Got a cigarette?
She leaned back comfortably against the waterpipe, as one enjoying the moment at leisure. Francis lit her a cigarette impatiently and waited. He was very tired but he was afraid to leave her alone, as much for himself as for her. At the moment he didnt give a damn whether she killed herself or not because he was so tired, but her friends knew that he had taken her home and there was a concierge below.
Im pretty tired, he saidunfortunately, because this gave her an advantage; she wasnt tired; although her mind moved in a tedious half time like a slow moving picture her nerves were crowded with feverish traffic. She tried to think of some mischief.
You were after me, she said accusingly.
What of it?
She laughed sneeringly.
Ill go homeif youll tell me where the rest of the shells are and then hop into bed and get some sleep.
Oh, s ! she cried, Youll tuck the baby in will youyou God damn old foolyou meig me sick to my stomach.
Half an hour passed. When he was silent she took her ease refusing to leave the bathroom. When he made a motion to go she woke like a watchdog, and held him there. He looked in the bureau for shells till she cried: Let my things alone. He thought of calling the concierge but that would be to arouse the house surely; dawn was filtering into the bedroom now, the singing had long ago ceased.
He hated her for entangling him in this sordidnessit was unbelievable that he had ever desired her, a hysterical Lesbian, keeping him there as if she had any possible right. He would have liked to hit herbut at the thought of her bruised in all this trouble of hers a complete revulsion of feeling went over him; he went and knelt beside her and put his arm about her shoulder.
Poor little girlwhat is it? Tell me. Are you busted or something, or have you gotten mixed up with those Lesbians?
She broke down suddenly.
Oh, no, she cried, I wanted to see if I couldsleep with youI
Then as suddenly she was herself again.
You can go now, she said after a moment coldly.
What are you going to do?
Going to sleep, what do you think Im going to doset myself on fire? Take the pistol if you want.
She began taking off her dress. Without looking at him she turned on the hot water in the wash basin, and looked at herself in the mirror.
Outside it was morning; he stopped at a workmans bistro for a cup of coffee. Good God, this is getting to be a hell of a world, he thought. Now he remembered stories he had heard in California. It was all very depressing and it frightened him, as if someone he knew were being operated on. He wanted to see Seth and Dinah and he made up his mind on a savage impulse to tell the story to his mother. God damn these women! he thought.
Fitzgeralds story, The Worlds Fair, belongs to the period following the completion of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald sent Maxwell Perkins the manuscript of The Great Gatsby late in the fall of 1924, from the Riviera, though all through the winter in Rome he was rushing revisions to Scribners. By the time he and Zelda reached Capri, in February, he had a new novel planned and had begun writing it. In August he was far enough along to say: Our Type is about several things, one of which is an intellectual murder on the Leopold-Loeb idea. Incidentally it is about Zelda and me and the hysteria of last May and June in Paris. (To Maxwell Perkins, August 28, 1925.) For a variety of reasons too complicated to go into here, it was ten years before Fitzgerald actually completed a novel, and when he did so, it was very different from the one he began in. 1925. He did not, however, give up Our Type until some time late in 1929. Meanwhile, as the novel grew, he experimented with other titles which suggest the ways the emphasis was shifting as he wrote. He first considered The Boy Who Killed His Mother in order to shift attention to the central action; then, as his interest apparently turned back to the Americans in Europe, Worlds Fair.
This novel, or at least as much of it as we have (about twenty thousand words), is the story of a talented boy, Francis Melarky, who makes a success in Hollywood as a technician and then comes to the Riviera with his mother for a vacation; his father is serving a long prison term, apparently for some crime of violence. There is a suggestion that Francis has inherited a murderous temper. His mother is strongly possessive and there is bad feeling between her and Francis from the beginning. It is quite clear that Fitzgerald intended to have Francis kill his mother later in the booka year after it was begun he was asking Perkins to find out for him what is done if one American murders another it, France. The four long chapters of the novel which have been preserved are mainly concerned with Francis arrival on the Riviera, his acquaintance with the Seth Pipers (the Divers of this book), a duel similar to the one in Tender Is the Night, and a trip to Paris with the Pipers to see Abe Grant (Abe North) off to America. Many of the details and a number of the scenes from these chapters were, much revised, used in Tender Is The Night, though by the time Francis became Rosemary Hoyt, and Seth and Dinah Piper Dick and Nicole Diver, Fitzgeralds conceptions of the characters as well as his plan for the action of the novel had changed drastically.
Perhaps the most striking difference between Our Type and Tender Is the Night is that in the former Francis (Rosemary) is the central figure, identified in his deepest feelings, as are all Fitzgeralds central characters, with Fitzgerald himself. This original intention, with the special interest it gave Francis, probably has something to do with the way Rosemarys point of view is, for the purposes of that novel, overemphasized in Tender Is the Night. With Francis at the center of the book, the Pipers become peripheral characters, and, because Fitzgerald is not seeing the Seth Piper-Dick Diver character as a version of himself (my comparatively good brother, as he wrote in his Notebooks), he is very differently conceived.
This difference in the novels focal point, and the shifts in values which result, can perhaps best be suggested by a short scene between Francis and Abe Grant, which takes place early in the morning of Abes sailing. Francis and Abe have been up all night on a party and now, with the narrator, have arrived at the Ritz Bar for coffee.
They were talking. They were tall fine looking men, neither of them themselves just now. They shouldnt have been there just talkingAbe should have had all this behind him, and Francis should have been off sleeping with some girl. There was some other element at work in each of them, besides liquor. They were like two people about to explode. The liquor was comparatively harmless save in its culminative effectanyhow, there they were, two very vital, very masculine men with an apparently irresistible impulse to waste themselves, dissipate their time and forces on nothingcertainly not on pleasure, for neither of them was having a good time.
Seth and Dinah are the two most attractive people I ever met in my life, Francis declared. It seems to bother you when I say that.
Not at allbut you cant expect me to share your enthusiasm at my time of life. I used to have friendsdozens of dear devoted friends, but as a matter of fact, friends hell. Friends are people who never let you off anything. The thing is to have sycophants.
I suppose thats another crack at the Pipers. I suppose Im a sycophant.Well, let it go at that, but I dont feel like a sycophant. When people are so unselfish about things as the Pipers you dont feel like
No, youre wrong there, said Abe. What Seth does hasnt anything to do with selfishness or unselfishness. But he found out very young how bad selfishness looks.
You hate him, dont you, said Francis.
No. I never hate anybodyexcept, of course, Mary.
Look here, said Francis eagerly, I dont see how you can reconcile your ideas about the Pipers
I thought there were two Pipers.
about Seth then, with the fact that he gives so much and asks so little except to make people happy. Its theretake it or leave it, but you cant accept all thatthat niceness about everything and then go and sneer at it.
This was hardly fair to Abe who was being forced into a corner by Francis aggressiveness.
Young man, dont get the idea that Seth asks so little. Hes lived all his life on better minds than himself. Theres not an idea or an attitude of his that you cant trace to somebody or somethingthe St. Marks School-Harvard-Porcellian attitude, Legendre the painter, and Parkinson, the works of Coue which is probably the only book he ever read, my ideas about music until somebody put him on to Antheil.
What of it? He can talk to anybody about their business and make them believe he knows as much about it as they do. As a matter of fact I think his ideas about moving pictures are pretty damned interesting.
Young man, youre just fascinated, thats all.
Hell! said Francis disgustedly.
Well, what about a little beer or somethingI cant go to bed now because the boat train leaves in three hours.
But Francis and I were done and leaving him sitting talking to Frank we went back to our respective hotels.
No such doubts as these axe ever allowed to affect our attitude toward the Divers, though there is some evidence that Fitzgerald was using Rosemarys youth and naivety deliberately, as a device which allowed him to present the Divers, as at the dinner where Rosemary first sees them in action, in a more brilliant and glamorous light than he could have allowed himself had he presented them directly. Nonetheless, Tender Is the Night, as Fitzgeralds original sketch for it says, is a novel in which the leisure class are at their truly most brilliant and glamorous; and the Divers are its quintessence. Their success, their brilliance, must not be questioned, however much the value of what they achieve may be. But the purpose of the scene I have just quoted from Our Type is to give the reader a free choice between Abes view of the Pipers and Francis.
Moreover, we are given, in the novel as a whole, a clear suggestion that under the influence of the world of which the Pipers are the masters Francis is gradually going to pieces, wasting [himself], dissipating [his] time and forces on nothing. This view of him should be compared with the moment in the first chapter where, after a session in the studio like Rosemarys (Tender Is the Night, Chapter V), Francis is shown evoking an old, familiar, half-forgotten thought about being a better man, about being perfect inside and out. As usual the very thought of such perfection crystallized Francis vitality into an ecstasy of ambition. He had not felt this way in six months abroad He felt now as he had at times in California, that he was probably a first-rate man. Because Francis wasting of himself is the main point of Our Type, and because it is a very different kind of wasting from Dick Divers, Abe is also treated differently. Abes motive in the conversation I have just quoted is glanced at in the sentence: This was hardly fair to Abe who was being forced into a corner by Francis aggressiveness, and in Abes I thought there were two Pipers; and it is implicit throughout the scene. It is that Abe has been in love with Dinah Piper for years. This motive comes out very clearly in the scene at the Gare Saint-Lazare which follows almost immediately in Our Type. In the comparable scene in Tender Is the Night (Chapter XIX), Abes love for Nicole is given only part of a sentence ( and he had been heavy, belly-frightened, with love for her for years), for in that book Fitzgerald wants no external motive for Abes disintegration. He is a case of emotional bankruptcy as Fitzgerald called it, an advanced case of the exhaustion of purpose which we watch developing in Dick Diver throughout the novel. But in Our Type he is rather an advanced case of the different kind of disintegration that will presently occur in Francis and, as Worlds Fair shows, being in love with Dinah is an important part of that disease.
These things help, I hope, to show the wider implications this section of the novel would have had in the larger context of the completed book. What is printed here is the last section Fitzgerald completed before he dropped this version of the storyor at least it is the last that has been preserved. Except for the Notebooks, into which he transcribed several passages from this manuscript when he discarded it, only a few phrases from this section appear elsewhere in his work, for there are no scenes comparable to these in Tender Is the Night.
By Arthur Mizener.
This piece comes from Chapter IV of the Melarky version. Note that Seth and Dinah Piper in the episode are earlier incarnations of Dick and Nicole Diver. Although Fitzgerald was unable to use this passage in Tender Is the Night, he managed to salvage part of it. The three tall American girls with heads like cobras appear in Chapter V of Book III, and make some of their comments on the Divers. The chant in the unfamiliar language full of k's and l's is heard when Dick and Nicole are visiting the Minghettis, in Chapter IV of Book V. Some of the other incidents and phrases were copied into Fitzgerald's notebooks and were reprinted after his death in The Crack-Up.
By Malcolm Cowley.
Published in The Kenyon Review. Also published under the name Wanda Breasted as appendix to M. Cowley's edition of Tender Is The Night.