A Summer with F. Scott Fitzgerald,
by Laura Guthrie Hearne

Only one person had a clearer view of him during the crack-up time than he had of himself—and she kept a journal, day by anguished day


In February of 1935 F. Scott Fitzgerald went from Baltimore to Hendersonville, North Carolina, to escape from his debts, his anxiety about his wife who was in a mental hospital, and his disappointment about the reception of Tender Is the Night. But chiefly he was fleeing his fears about himself and his career. He was in poor health; he was drinking heavily; and the words weren’t coming the way they used to.

Fitzgerald had a mild recurrence of tuberculosis in May and moved from Baltimore to Asheville, where he tried to write short stories and stay off gin. Although he was maintaining a home for his daughter, Scottie, in Baltimore, Fitzgerald was in or near Asheville during much of the next year before he left for Hollywood. This was the period of “The Crack-Up.”

There Fitzgerald met Mrs. Laura Guthrie Hearne. Living in Asheville because of her health, she was helping out at the inn as a social hostess, enlivening its guests with her enthusiastic personality and her imaginative palm readings. He always had the need for an admiring female friend and Mrs. Hearne ivas well-suited for the role. She was an aspiring writer, had a deep interest in the varieties of human behavior, and was a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. Fitzgerald began by making a quick play for her, but when he saw that she had no romantic interest in him, he drafted her as secretary, companion, nurse, and confidential agent. From June to September they spent a great deal of time together and Mrs. Hearne kept a 60,000-word diary of their days and the long nights she sat up with his insomnia. However, her health was not up to being on twenty-four-hour call— and the glamour of being around him soon wore thin—so she gradually eased herself out of Fitzgerald’s life.

The significance of this diary is that it provides an independent daily log of the crack-up. Fitzgerald’s own accounts published in Esquire in 1936 (The Crack-Up, Pasting It Together, Handle with Care) are frightening exercises in self-dissection and come as close as a man can come to exposing the painful truths about himself. But they are, after all, his own views of himself prepared for publication, and the sheer brilliance of the writing often distracts the reader from the terror of these essays. It is hard to despair for a man who is able to describe his collapse so perceptively. The Fitzgerald of Mrs. Hearne’s diary merits our emotion. Like Abe North of Tender Is the Night, he is an embarrassing figure. He is self-indulgent and self-deceiving. He is conceited. Trying to distract himself from his anxieties and needing admiration, he gets involved in a messy affair with a married woman. At its inception this romance means little to him, but when the husband reclaims his wife Fitzgerald persuades himself that the love was real and wallows in sorrow.

Yet weak as he is, Fitzgerald escapes being contemptible, for he somehow follows his advice and does the next thing. He accepts his responsibilities to his family and keeps writing. He fights his alcoholism and avoids a final collapse. This, then, is the significance of the crack-up: Fitzgerald never completely cracked up because he had “the strength of a weak man.”

Except for the opening paragraph, the diary has not been revised. In excerpting it for Esquire, spelling and punctuation have been corrected, and some names of people and places have been disguised. In all other respects what follows is the record kept by Laura Guthrie Hearne from June to September, 1935.

This is the story of my relations with F. Scott Fitzgerald. The first time I ever saw him was one early June night in 1935 at the dance of the plumbers’ convention at the Davies Inn. He was sprawled in a rocker, one leg over the arm while with sleepy eyes he watched the gyrating couples, and I thought what a very white face the young man had, and I wondered if he were sick.

I saw him again the next night when I came to the inn to tell fortunes. Mrs. Stuart, the hostess, with difficulty persuaded him to have his fortune told since he was now writing a gypsy story and she thought he could get some interesting material from me. He waited out in the hall with her and as he listened to my voice in the next room he thought there was some fate in that and he was afraid. When his turn came and he sat down in the chair beside me and put out his hands, they were all wet and shaky. He had had too many beers, but I did not know it at the time.

At a later day he told me, “My hand was so shaky, I was afraid. But your hand was firm and steady as it held mine. It gave me confidence.”

I was thrilled with his hand for I recognized genius, and I plunged right in. I told him of his strange life and of his most unusual and profitable career. He listened with his wide-open greyish-green eyes growing deeper and deeper. They are soulful and most expressive eyes, as someone said one night. As I talked on, he grew more and more interested. He interrupted once, “I was a big success at twenty-one ; I am translated now into several foreign languages.”

Scott went out and let Mrs. Stuart introduce him to two members of the staff and told them how marvelous I was. He told Mrs. Stuart that he had decided now to change his fortune-teller from the common one in his story to one like me. However, he didn’t; when the story was finished on June eleventh he let me read it and there was the original old fortune-teller.

I was dressing when the phone rang and a man’s voice said, “This is Scott Fitzgerald. Would you be overwhelmed if I told you that I had finished the story of the gypsy and asked you over to dinner and to read it?”

“I would certainly be too thrilled for words,” I said, “but I am invited to a play this evening.”

“At what time?”


“Well, that gives us two hours anyhow, and I will take you to the play afterward. How soon can you be ready?”

“Not for half an hour.”

“That is too long. I have a taxi ready now and will come down for you…”

“How lovely your garage is,” he exclaimed as he came upstairs and I ushered him into the living room. “Mrs. Stuart did not prepare me for this. She said you lived poorly in a garage. And look what I find; it is overwhelming.”

Scott was most admiring. His own heroes could not have done any better. He said that I just poured myself into a dress and he did think this royal blue was most becoming to me. He added that I must eat enough dinner to keep my nice body going.

Later, in his room at the inn, as I fixed my hair—and it did look awful and plain— I complained that I did not have any lipstick, having forgotten it in my hurry.

“Well, we can get some downstairs,” he said.

“Oh, no matter,” I decided.

He came over to look at my mouth and it seemed the most natural thing in the world when he kissed me very gently.

“Shall I cut my moustache off?” he asked.

“Oh no. I think moustaches are very nice.”

He kept looking at me so lovingly with his large bluish-green eyes. He told me how my voice had attracted him at the first, and then he felt something queer when we met for he knew that we were going to love each other. “I love your vitality, you are so alive. Why, even when you sit still and I look at you, you are just full of dynamic life.”

(I don’t think I will be, if I get much more upset about him and my appetite gets any worse.)

The waiter finally brought in the table and set up the dinner. Scott had more beer and I had some, but I am sure I will not want to see any more soon if he keeps on steadily consuming it. I soon became worried because he was not eating any dinner at all and just kept on drinking beer and ale, which he had cached away in his second room. The room we were in had a small bed that I suppose could have been called a couch. He had his writing material all over the tables and told me to get some of the papers together on this latest story. I got up and looked around, but as I could not seem to find all the missing papers, he had to. He is extremely dictatorial and expects to be obeyed at once—and well. When I was seated again he came around the table to get something and bent over and kissed my hair. I, prosaic as usual, said, “Don’t pick yourself on the hairpins.”

He turned back to his seat mumbling, “I guess if I want to pick myself, I can.”

He drank his ale and loved me with his eyes, and then with his lips for he said, “I love you, Laura.”

I told him that it was nice to see he had a sense of humor for I had too. He did not insist then, but later on said most seriously, “I do love you, Laura, and I have said that to only three women in my life.”

He told me that he never lets his friends down and then he sadly talked about his love for his wife, Zelda, and how she was now in a sanitarium for the insane.

Scott is very interested in children and told me that he has a lovely daughter of his own, thirteen years old. It seems that she was much distressed this spring because she did not pass several subjects in school. He said that he had called her to task because of this, and added, “I am a stern parent.”

He now began asking questions about my boy and he ended up with, “Is your husband the father of the boy?”

“Of course,” I said shortly, not able to conceal the fact that I was shocked.

Several times during our animated conversation he had suggested that we go to the Palace Night Club, but it is a good thing I did not take him at his word for I do not think he could have gotten as far as the elevator. He was getting very sleepy and drunk, as he had been steadily drinking beer and ale. He lolled on the couch and murmured that he was no menace to me. “I’m in a fine state,” he said, and the next moment he was snoring heavily.

The next evening there was a school of hairdressers having a party and I was the attraction for all of them. The leader was kind to me and left ten dollars.

Scott had been down talking to two young women from Tennessee, the married one, Gloria Dart, evidently being the one he liked. He came in and in French he asked me to tell the sister’s hand (I had already done the married one), but I had to refuse because of the many hairdressers still waiting. There was no hurry to do the sister anyhow, as they stay at the inn, but Scott is always in a hurry when he wants something done.

I realize now that this was when my own strange attraction to Scott began to go and it went completely when I learned that he had “another girl”—namely this married one from Tennessee. I lose interest in a man the moment I know he likes another woman, it seems.

After that I did not see him for a while. He spent his days, and nights, being entertained by Gloria Dart, who was only too delighted. The poor girl is completely crazy about him and he doesn’t know what to do about it, for she has been true to her husband always and loves him well, but now is getting to forget all this. She has been happily married for eleven years and Scott doesn’t like to come between happily married couples, even for a time. He says that she is terribly passionate, almost a nymphomaniac. What a curse that would be!

I did see him before he departed for New York for a short period (he insisted on my having a last supper with him).

When he eats he just bends over the plate and shovels it in. Perhaps it is not his real way, but just that he does it now to get more in before he thinks and takes a drink instead. When he is trying to brace up and be sober for some reason, he orders spinach and things that he feels are good for him even if he doesn’t like them. “Make me eat my spinach, Laura,” he begged. “Eat your spinach at once,” I said crossly. He took it like medicine and then looked up for my approval.

He suggested, “Let’s go to the movies, and then I won’t drink.” How perfectly terrible it must be to feel that you have no power over yourself to stop a bad habit. He was most worried at the idea that any whisper of his beer spree down here would get to Baltimore, where his wife is in a sanitarium. His “invalid,” as he calls his wife, thinks that he does not drink anymore at all, and the daughter Scottie hates the thought of it, and would not touch anything herself for she saw him drunk twice. He is so ashamed of his weakness and yet it seems that it is like a disease and he can’t stop when it gets hold. He says that he will have to go easy on his way North so as to arrive in a state of complete soberness as he has to deal there with his publisher, and headmistresses of schools for Scottie next fall, and some other business—all in the time of eight days.

July 3: Scott Fitzgerald is back. He phoned me this morning and said he had a good time in the North and everything was going better and would I do his typing for him, put his scrapbooks in order, in fact be his secretary? I said I would like to very much. He instructed me to come for dinner at the inn at six-thirty.

At dinner he told me that he had been working hard all day and did not call the Tennessee girls at all and felt that they would be jealous if they knew he had me for dinner and had not even phoned them. “I'm so sorry I had so much to do with them before, because they are just two unsophisticated little Tennessee girls, and have nothing for me. It’s hard to be so keyed up as Gloria demands. She seems to want her love set to music.”

On Friday, July fifth, it was raining and Mrs. Stuart phoned me that the women of the hosiery manufacturers’ convention were sitting around the lobby, so I went up and earned some money. I just knew that Scott and Gloria were having a rendezvous.

This proved to be the case when I went back at night. I wore a black lace dress hoping to dance with Scott, for the manufacturers were having a dance. When he came downstairs we sat in the huge rocking chairs in front of the fireplace, and he said, “That has happened which I did not want to have happen.”

“I knew it,” I declared rather triumphantly, I am afraid.

“You are a bit jealous?” Scott asked hopefully. “But no, you aren’t. You are definitely ‘off’ me. I haven’t any appeal for you. But I care so much more for you than for her. We have so much in common. I really love you, Laura. But Gloria pursued me, she kept coming to my room. She was coming the first night I was back and then she heard our voices at dinner through the open transom and went away. She wrote me a pitiful little note asking why I was avoiding her. She did it all. I was disappointed when it happened, it was just a repetition of so many other times. I am just an old roue. … Is there anything, Laura, about myself, that I don’t tell you?”

While we were sitting at the table Scott consumed seven bottles of beer and talked meanwhile. “I like women,” he said, “but don’t care so much for men. Men of my intellect I have to exert myself with. Women are restful. Gloria has no conscience; she is hard and brittle. She is the generation next to the war, and I am between and understand both the old and the new generation.”

He discussed Gloria quite a bit. “She sees everything that happens in the eyes of Tender Is the Night, and I want to forget it and see something else and get something from her. Women give me something.”

He told me how Zelda made a hit with men wherever they traveled. In England they were at a dinner party where Winston Churchill was a guest too. He was “Zelda’s slave—that is in conversation—for several hours at this party,” he concluded.

When Scott gets to drinking he sits and sits and it is almost impossible to get him to go home. And yet he hates to drink. “Here I am again,” he complained, “just about as bad as when I left, drinking twenty or more bottles of beer a day, whereas I only took five or so in the North.” Scott hates the fact that so much beer drinking is making his stomach fat!

“My heart is dead,” he said.

“Mine isn’t.”

“Yours hasn’t been born,” he declared.

We got into a discussion of drug taking. Scott said that was one thing he would not start for it would scare him to death, and right on top of that it turned out that he has to take a drug every night to sleep at all! He takes Amytal, as Luminal makes him itch.

“I am very fond of Gloria,” he kept saying. She just about lives in his room, and Enid must feel plenty deserted, and unhappy over it, too. No matter how Scott says they are the postwar generation and so not shocked at things that I am shocked at, yet they are not as hard as he would like to make them out to be to salve his own conscience.

It is now Sunday, July fourteenth, and a rainy dark afternoon. I am imagining the agony that is going on in Scott’s room as the parting is prolonged. [Gloria’s husband is coming and Scott doesn’t want to meet him, so Gloria and Enid are going to take him to Highlands for his vacation time.] Scott will be in a fine state of nerves tomorrow! And I can guess that Gloria will not look too rested to her husband when he comes. I wish she were staying on to amuse Scott in her way, for he has to have some company. I am working too hard to travel around with him to movies and nightclubs while he drinks seven or more bottles of beer. It was all right for a while and an experience, but I do not see any profit in continuing it.

I went to the inn in the morning as the insurance conference was there. When I went into the dining room for coffee for lunch, there sat Scott and Gloria. They had finished eating and Gloria just sat looking at him lingeringly and as if she would impress on her mind his features and every fleeting expression to recall afterward when she would be with him no longer. She knows there is nothing to be done about the situation, for he will stick to Zelda and she will have to stay with her husband and child. Maybe she hopes that someday, sometime. . . .

They asked me to sit with them, and the word “secret” came up, and Scott looked at Gloria and asked, “Gloria, have you any secrets?” She leaned forward with a crinkling of her small but pretty eyes and said, “Just a few.” I was thinking it was a pretty open secret to everyone who was at the inn—I mean the phone operators, clerks, Mrs. Stuart and all who were in a position to know.

The dining room was cleared of all but us and the impatient waiters hovered near and Scott said after a while that they wanted us to go. Scott was still drinking beer. I think if all the bottles of beer that he has had were put end to end they would reach the moon!

He is so alarmed over his health and yet he lives the most unnatural life of any man I know. If he ever eats a decent meal it has not been since I have known him. And he lives on beer—as high as thirty-seven bottles in one day. It seems incredible but it is so, and on the floor of one of his closets marches a whole regiment of empty bottles, ones that he has brought in that he thinks the hotel does not know about. He smokes all the time, too, some special kind of cigarettes without nicotine. He thinks they do not hurt him. Gloria sends him three cartons at a time, and they cost two fifty a carton.

July 15. “I had a dreadfully sad parting with Gloria,” he said mournfully. “I have found out that I do love her, and I have not felt this way about anyone for so many years. I find it hurts more than I remembered. I told her this was farewell for I am not going to have anything more to do with her.

“Gloria proposed the most impossible thing,” he went on. “She asked me to go away with her, said she was willing to leave all of her former life and just go with me to any distant point in the world. She said with humility, T am rich. I will pay for everything.’ So I had to have sense for both of us and told her that never, never would I desert Zelda, especially in her present condition.”

I told Scott that I was sorry I had to leave him to go home and put on my costume for work that evening, for he looked absolutely forlorn and I knew he would sink deeper and deeper into misery if left alone with his thoughts.

On July eighteenth, Scott phoned and I went over at eleven. He had received about six letters from Gloria and was quite crazy about her persecution. He was dead afraid that the husband would catch on if she said “Scott” at the wrong moment or give everything away because she drank too much, and he had decided to get out of the inn until the husband goes home.

There was a pile of correspondence to go through. We set to work, and once he burst out, “Am I always going to have to run from women? Can’t they be reasonable and know that enough is enough? It should end on a high peak and not have an anticlimax. The memory would be sweeter if it just ended the other day and we never saw each other again.”

I said that women did not know that it was better to stop on a high note and always wanted to continue the refrain until it was tiresome. Then I said that he shouldn’t begin it.

“Why did I begin it with Gloria?” he demanded. “I did resist her for three days and she tried hard to get me. Oh, I suppose it was my fault though, for I said things to provoke her interest and passion and yet I wouldn’t have touched her if she had told me the truth. She did not tell me that her husband was coming until just before he did. I never have been caught in an amorous adventure and don’t expect to now.”

We had done a lot of the work by onethirty when the phone rang. He was scared to answer it, but did. As he thought, it was Gloria who was in town because Enid had to see a doctor. Her husband was playing golf and she wanted to have lunch with Scott.

Scott told her he was glad to hear her voice, but he really wasn’t, and when he came back to the desk beside me he asked, “Did I do right? Should I have refused to see her?”

“No. I guess you had to.”

“She’ll spoil this whole thing if she does not stop this.” (Persecution I guess he meant!) I had read and filed her six letters, for though he says he is going to destroy them, he hasn’t had the heart to yet. They were pitiful, with their deep avowals of passion and love for him—all else in the world taking a position of unimportance.

Scott could do no more work now, so I left and he said that as soon as he got rid of her he would call me up to come back and finish this work as it had to be done before he left for some nearby retreat to escape the husband.

I was on my telephone for some time with a friend and suddenly heard a car below. There was Scott in a taxi, coming to get me since he couldn’t get me on the phone. He told me they had been absolutely crazy, for when she came to his room she fell into his arms and stayed there and they did not even think of locking the door. The husband was on the golf links, but might have come in as the sky was dark and rain threatened. It made Scott faint to think of the chances they had taken. “I am so afraid that Gloria will do something crazy and that her husband will get wise. And worst of all Enid has some internal trouble and this is an excuse for Gloria to stay here at the inn with her, while Spike goes back to Highlands.”

Scott continued, “I am so weak. But I have the most powerful will in the world. Where does this show on a hand?”

I said the first joint of a thumb showed strong will, but the length of the head line showed whether for sensible or foolish things. He doesn’t realize it, but his head line is not a proper balance for his emotional heart line. He said rather wistfully to me, “You are such a well-organized person.”

He went on talking for awhile. About Zelda he said, “I am steeled against what may happen to her at any time, but not prepared. Life ended for me when Zelda and I crashed.”

I asked him if he rewrote all his early works four times as he does now. “Yes, I always did the best I could at the time. Three revisions are absolutely necessary. First the first draft, the high inspirational points. Second, the cold going over. Third, putting both in their proper balance.”

He told me that in other years hotels would keep him for nothing because his name made good advertising for them. Even ocean liners carried him for nothing! Not that he thought about that or anything, as he was drunk all the way over. “First I drank to keep from being seasick and then to keep other people company.”

Gloria rang up on the phone and Scott told her I was there working. So she wrote a letter and sent it in by a bellboy. A request on the front asked him not to read it while I was there, but he did and then passed it over to me. At six-thirty I had him call her and arrange to have dinner with her at seven-thirty. For we were getting through any amount of work. He was very formal over the phone with her so she would think they were fooling me. I had to smile to myself. What a strange life I do lead, and how many things happen in my ken! I would rather have them happen to other people than to me, though, and as I went home in a taxi with my typewriter I was so glad that I had an evening alone and not as hectic as they were having!

Hectic it was, as I found out later. Scott had given me fifteen dollars to buy his wife a present or three, since she likes numbers, for her birthday on July twenty-fourth. I did not know what to get, but finally settled on two nice woven bags, one blue, one white with an embroidered house on it, and then a filigree—gold on silver—clasp for her dress. Scott had warned me not to get anything that she could hurt herself with. She likes necklaces and can’t have them for she could choke herself with them. Rings she could swallow, and pins she could stick herself with. All in all it was a sad case.

When I got home at one-thirty the phone was ringing. It was Scott, who told me to come right up. I arrived so soon he asked, “Did you come in an airplane?”

He was planning to leave soon. We had looked at a map the day before and decided on Lake Lure, and he gave me instructions that the minute the girls left the inn I was to telegraph him so he could come back and get to work, for he knows that he has done nothing but waste time for weeks now. Worse than waste time, for he is getting into a terrible state now, what with the beer and passion and, yes, fear.

He was in a white and shaken mood and could not control his hands and his whole arm shook as well. His hands keep seeking his little moustache to feel it, and perhaps to hide his twitching lips. The night he had been through was perfectly terrible, and almost made him dislike Gloria instead of love her. His beautiful “memory” won’t remain a memory but gets more real all the time!

Enid knows the whole thing of course. They left word at the desk that if Spike phoned he should be told that Enid was ill and so the room could not be rung! Gloria told Scott that Spike would not call when she came to be with him, but Spike did, and he was very mad when the desk kept telling him that the girls could not be disturbed. Finally a bellboy came to Scott’s room and said that Gloria’s husband wanted to speak to her ! What a situation !

Scott had the call switched to his room and Gloria talked to Spike, “But not very convincingly,” said Scott. “She wasn’t plausible when she told him that they had been on the terrace, she and Enid, and that was why she didn’t answer sooner. She had a hard time persuading him and then he wanted to know who was with her. If I had been Spike I would have jumped into a car and come all the way to the inn from Highlands to see what was going on. I kept trying to get Gloria to go back to her room, for fear Spike would appear. She did go, and she came back ten times, until I got weary and mad. I spoke to her terribly, told her she was just being a child, an ornery child, and would have to be treated that way.”

But no matter how he treated her, she kept coming back and going through another leave taking. I think she did not care if Spike or the whole world found her there.

“The sooner I get away, the better,” Scott concluded. “Gloria might make a slip.” He set to work to pack and it did not take long. We had soup and chicken for lunch. He showed no interest in food but tried to wolf some down. He said that the beer he had taken this morning had made him very sick. Also he is beginning to break out in welts that itch. The trembling is getting worse and yet he keeps on with the beer. It is almost beyond my comprehension, for it seems that he is in the grip of a force stronger than he is. It seems to me that he is an alcoholic already, even if he denies it.

Scott complained that his head was splitting and asked me if I would rub it. He dropped down on the floor in an uncomfortable position at my feet and I rubbed and pulled his hair as he requested. “You missed a part on the front of my head,” he complained. “Poor neglected part,” I said. “Oh, Laura, you are so tender,” he said, and I replied nothing from surprise.

At last he finished his packing and showed me a brown tie that Gloria had brought to him that morning. She had also donated three cartons of his special cigarettes. “At least you got a lot of cigarettes out of it,” I said, and he threw something at me.

No one was to know where he went and so when we went out he told the desk to give me all of his mail, and said he would return in a few days. I bet the desk is buzzing with his escapades and that they are thankful no scandal burst at the inn.

We stopped at my place so he could get a cheaper taxi, for this one wanted ten dollars to take him to Lake Lure. The second one did it for five dollars. I took three snapshots of Scott before it came, and one picture turned out very well. There was also a fine one of him in the Sunday paper and a nice interview that a young reporter had gotten. He was all over the front page, “Famous Author Makes Asheville His Summer Headquarters.” If only they knew the half of it!

He dictated a letter to his friend, Bill Lengel, associate editor of Liberty, and asked him to carefully consider my story, The Heavy Trunk. He said that I was an intimate friend and then changed it to personal, and added, “The author is a unique personality.” He first said that if they would take the story it would encourage me, and then crossed that out because “They don’t care about that. Also never ask a favor is a good policy.” He really does have an unerring instinct of the right thing to do, and his literary ideas are so right. If only his personal habits were better he would go far, far. But he keeps saying that all great persons have some fatal weakness (perhaps to keep them from going too far ahead of their fellows. I wonder). No doubt he realizes that he uses his willful will to keep on indulging himself in his fatal weakness. What will the end be?

He left finally for Lake Lure and I was much relieved to be quite quiet and peaceful. I did his letters and dismissed two girls who came hopefully to be read. I greatly enjoyed the thought that I would not suddenly be called upon to run to Scott’s rescue, for he is such a sudden person that working for him has no relaxed moments.

At midnight when I was still reading, but about to go to bed, Scott phoned from Lake Lure to ask me if I knew how The Barretts of Wimpole Street ended. I said with the woman leaving her father and getting strength to go with Browning. He said he was sorry, for he had been going to use that ending on a story that he was just thinking of. Now he would have to think of another. He said he had tried to get a little sun during the day, but was not at all equal to going into the water. He wanted to get the suntan to hide the growing air of dissipation he was getting!

Scott phoned me again at one-thirty a.m. but I did not know it as I slept so soundly in the other room. He was nearly crazy alone at Lake Lure and wanted me to come down for a day and do some work with him. But as he could not wake me he made other plans which were to come to Asheville, and then leave for New York the next day.

At lunchtime, Scott phoned me (I suppose he had slept all morning when he finally got to sleep) and told me his plans. He said for me to meet him at the station at four, after getting some of his clothes, papers, etc. from the inn and putting them in his briefcase.

I bumped into Enid at the inn and she told me she had been very lonely, for Gloria was in Highlands with her husband. She said that she had thought of phoning me the day before and asking me to see her. I said it was too bad she had gone to the movies alone for I had been alone too, and would have been glad to go with her. I do feel sorry for her. She went on saying that Gloria was not well, that they had spent a lot of money already on their trip here but were not eager to go back to Tennessee. “I came here for my health,” said Enid sadly. “And now look at me.” I did, she has lost a lot of weight over Gloria’s affair.

I got to the station quite early, three thirty. But a few moments later Scott drove up with a pretty girl, but she was in the back seat and just happened to be coming to town at the same time. Scott was unshaven, unpressed and shaking terribly. “I wish I had gone to New York three days ago, instead of trying to stick it out at Lake Lure, for I am worse now than I was then.”

I never criticize him for I feel it is like an illness and he can’t help it, or he would do something about it. He doesn’t want to be like this, but somewhere there is a terrible weakness that is driving him into this constant drinking. And what next?

I feel that Scott is about the loneliest person in the world that I know. His mother is old and doesn’t understand him at all and he does not care to see her. His wife is insane and in a sanitarium. He told me he didn’t want to see her again this trip. Even if it was her birthday. I wonder how she liked the presents I sent, for him.

He is completely alone because no one is near to him and he has no religion to comfort him. He makes me think of a lost soul, wandering in purgatory—sometimes hell. He tries so hard to drown it out with drink and sex. Perhaps in the heights of those moments he forgets for a brief time—then it all comes back in overwhelming force. Often he says, “Life is not happy.” Well, life is not happy for him. He said it was a good thing he was not a rich man or he would have been dead before now—killing himself with indulgences—but that the necessity of doing work had kept him going. “All I ask now is that life be endurable, and that will be so only if I can keep my health,” he says. “I need health to work.”

I had a good quiet weekend resting up from the hectic time I had had when Scott was in town. It was so nice being my own boss in every way and not having to keep hours or eat at any time or put on a costume and go anywhere. I ate when I felt hunger and read and wi'ote when the spirit moved. Also stayed in bed late; I seem rather tired and dizzy some mornings.

On the night of the twenty-ninth, Gloria brought her husband over to see me after all. I read his hand and he seemed very sad when I told him he had two marriages—as Gloria has. She told me I got his character terribly well and only missed one thing; I told him that he loved children when it is animals he loves. Spike is a fine type of man, strong and dominant and he loves Gloria very much. She bosses him, but he wouldn’t let anyone else do this.

Gloria looked beautiful in a black evening dress and with her cute little stuttering sentences when she is excited I knew that if Scott ever saw her again he would fall again under the spell.

They stayed until eleven and though Spike said he wanted to see me again before he left two days later, he didn’t. But he sent me a letter ending, “I like you.”

On the thirty-first, Gloria phoned and asked if she could see me. She came over and talked about Scott and wondered why he went away! If she only knew how much I know about the affair she would not try to fool me. She is really sweet and I like her. She kept trying to get me to say where he was and when she saw I wouldn’t tell she said she really wouldn’t have communicated with him anyhow and it didn’t matter. We went to town and had some beer (in memory of Scott no doubt).

Gloria told me some about Enid and how her mind is not right. Enid is very unhappy and cries all of the time and Gloria agrees with Scott that the thing to do is to take Enid to Baltimore to a famous hospital there. However, unless their doctor at home, Dr. Dole, tells Enid to go she won’t, for she has confidence only in him.

When I asked Gloria how she knew Scott was at Lake Lure she replied that he had told her so and had asked her to telegraph him there. Otherwise she would not have done so. I believe her, too, and think that Scott was so drunk on beer that he did not remember what he had told her.

Gloria is using Enid and her condition as an excuse not to go back to Tennessee with Spike. Of course I know she just can’t bear to leave the part of the world where Scott is.

Well—this is the end of a very exciting month—July.

August has been a hot month so far— in every way! If I ever have to live through more excitement in a short time than I have to date (August sixteenth) I hope I will be able to endure it. For this has been night and day and action and strange experiences that do not come frequently in a lifetime. I have long wanted not to be an actor in the drama of life but to be on the outskirts or in it to a certain extent, seeing everything but not being the principal actor—mainly perhaps because I am afraid of being hurt. Well, that is the way it has been and I have even had a deciding influence on the lives of those who wex-e the principal actors.

Of course the drama had to do with Scott; he is born to drama and if it doesn’t come in the course of events he has to do things that bring the drama.

On Saturday, August third, Scott phoned me from the hotel where he was getting breakfast, having arrived from Baltimore on the morning train. He was expecting to have one more interview with Gloria that a.m. and end everything! Well—end would hardly describe what happened. Her cute little stuttering ways, and golden hair, and deep adoration, coupled with the many beers that he had changed his plans. They went to the Palace together for lunch and later on he phoned me that they were going to have a last ride together, but that he would come over to me for his mail. When he came he told me that really he had taken a room or rooms at the Royal Hotel and that they were going to be there until eleven that night. They were going to tell Enid they were taking a ride on the mountains.

I knew that he would get himself all tied up again, but I am so fatalistic that it seems I do not make any effort to get people to see what is happening, because it would do no good. I just accept. I take it as though it had to be, as indeed seems to be the case.

We talked awhile before he went back to Gloria.

“For the first time in my life I was not able to give any uplift to Zelda.” (He had gone to see her after all.) “She did not say anything about it but she knew that I was emotionally bankrupt. I feel awful about failing Zelda this way.”

“Did she like the birthday presents you sent her?” I asked.

“She likes the bags, but she insisted that the dress clip had belonged to a princess that we knew in Switzerland. I told her it came from a little shop in Asheville, but she was convinced that it was not new! Other people plan the lives of those who are sick—but if the sick only knew what freedom they miss by their dependence and sickness.”

He is always feeling so sorry for the sick—I wonder if he does not know how sick he is!

“I am not going to take rooms at the inn as they might not be so lenient this time with me and the Gloria affair. I don’t want to continue it, for my work has been interrupted long enough. They might even ask me to leave the inn.”

He took a taxi back to the Royal where he had registered as Francis Key (after Francis Scott Key, his famous great-great-great-granduncle). It was lucky I knew where they were for that night I got a call from the inn, from the telephone operator there who knows everyone’s business, asking me if I knew where Gloria’s husband could get in touch with her as he had been calling the inn for some time.

I immediately called Scott who had Gloria call her husband in White Sulphur, which was as far as he had gotten on his way home.

I went to bed and was having awful dreams, but at five-thirty when a taxi drew up I knew at once who it was. Scott threw stones up at my window and I went down and he asked if I wouldn’t hurry up and dress and come back for breakfast with him. It was only at this hour that he and Gloria had separated and he had stopped here on his way back from taking her to the inn, to see if I wouldn’t come now and work. I told him I was too tired and that he ought to get some sleep. He then said I was to come at one, whether he was sleeping or not. I agreed.

So I went back to bed and he drove off. The phone woke me again at nine, and he said that he had slept some and now wanted me to come down for breakfast, so there was nothing for it but for me to get ready and go, and I did so in a hurry for he is the most unreasonable person about the way he wants you to do a thing the moment he commands it, even if you don’t happen to be dressed. And when I got there there was no need to have hurried at all. He did not have anything for breakfast except beer, but I had coffee and toast.

He was very matter-of-fact and we got to work on the pile of mail and the files and worked hard until it got toward noon. Then he called Gloria and asked her to come to lunch with us. He asked me not to leave while she was there. I did not promise for I knew what was about to happen again. Our lunch came up and he fixed my honeydew melon and told me to start to eat. He commented on how tired and thin I had gotten, and insisted that something was the matter with me. It was a scorching hot day and the Royal is not a cool hotel, but it was not as hot as the people in it!

When Gloria arrived Scott kissed her and told her I knew that he loved her so they could talk frankly in front of me. We talked of the phone call last night and of how she told Spike that she and I were at a movie together. I had told Scott that he would phone again tonight, but Scott said no, and that he had foretold this case exactly heretofore. But I kept my idea.

Scott asked Gloria if I did not look bad, and she said I was thinner but it was becoming. But Scott sees beneath the surface and I marvel anew each time when he remarks on something that is absolutely hidden from others.

Scott was trying to decide to go to some other town until the Tennessee girls could leave the inn. Gloria and I both tried to decide him to go to the inn. (I knew that wherever he went he would phone Gloria or go to see her or something and then I would have to be the clearinghouse again for Spike’s frantic evening calls. Besides a lot of other mess they might get into.) If I had trusted Scott to be strong and not try to see her, then I would have said to go to Hendersonville and wait for her to leave town, but I knew perfectly that he would not be able to let her go when she is such a lovely, loving companion. He kept saying, “Laura, you decide where I shall go. You are the only one who has common sense now.”

So I would say Hendersonville, and Gloria objected. “It is very hot there.” She convinced me that the inn was the best place. Then Scott accused me of changing and of delivering him into Gloria’s hands, but though I didn’t say so, I felt that they could keep it more secret right in the inn together than if they were in widely different places and running to be together nights.

Scott had eaten practically nothing of course and Gloria said she wanted to persuade him to come to the inn and for me to go into the bedroom and wait. I did so and soon she came in with a hot-and-bothered look and asked if I wouldn’t go, and I was only too glad as I saw the moment had come. Scott kissed me good-bye !

I came home and did some letters he had dictated to me. Enid phoned, then Gloria did, and finally Scott, as they were not able to decide where he should go. I told him over the phone that I thought he better stay where he was for the night. Later Gloria phoned that he had gone sound asleep and she was staying with him.

But this was not the end of them. I put my hair up in curlers and at midnight the phone rang and I was not surprised to find that Nashville, Tennessee, was calling me, or rather was calling Mrs. Dart. I listened until I heard Spike’s excited voice saying to the operator, “No one is on the line. No one answers.” Then I very softly put up the receiver and waited for the next ten minutes while the phone rang and rang. Of course the operator knew that I had answered and could not understand why I hung up so silently. Then I called the Royal and got a very sleepy response from Scott who grasped the significance of Spike’s midnight call, and had Gloria talk to me. I went back to bed, but before long the same thing happened, and I did not speak over the phone this time.

I tried to get Scott again at his hotel, and who should arrive but himself while I was phoning him. Gloria had gone on to the inn to call from there and he came to be with me and have her pick him up on the way back downtown. He did quite a bit of talking while we waited for her. Among other things, he said, “It is a sad thing to see love die. And it is. We say things to each other. I say things to her that I never would have said to anyone a short while ago. But I have broken up her marriage now. She thinks that she can fix it up again, but Spike is suspicious of her now and also she won’t be satisfied with him again. So it is broken. She may not know it for another five years, but it is. With what moral sense I have left I feel badly about this. Spike will ultimately take another woman in his need to put someone on the pedestal of perfection that he had Gloria on when she let him down. Gloria will try to find another man who combines what Spike and I both have and will forget me. Gloria is really arrogant and spoiled, rich and selfish.”

He went on, “I don’t lose myself when I drink. I just get slowed down and logy and stupid. I must see the doctors for I have been coughing so much recently. When Gloria drinks too much she becomes hazy and her mentality slows down and then I don’t like her so much. I have to baby her then, and I don’t like to have to baby women.”

No, I thought, you like them to baby you.

“I am always searching for the perfect love, the perfect understanding.”

“Perhaps because you had it long ago,” I hazarded.

“No, I never had it. I was searching then.”

Scott sat in a chair in front of a family group taken at the lake. “You are perfectly beautiful in this picture,” he said. “You are a double in it for the girl in Tender—Nicole.”

“Don’t I look sad?” I asked.

“Yes, you look utterly sad, but so beautiful. And as for your husband, he looks like a good streetcar conductor, or yes, a good salesman in a small way. How did you ever, ever come to marry such a man?”

Since nothing explains it, there is no use trying to think of a valid reason. Scott wondered what my life would have been like if I had married a man who cherished me, and helped me to fulfill my ideals.

In discussing whether one person can break another, Scott said, “You cannot be broken unless it is inherent in you. Gloria cannot break Spike unless it is in his nature to be broken. If she didn’t do it, someone else would in that case.” I agreed with Scott, though Gloria thinks that others do break or make each other.

I went to bed again at two a.m. when Gloria and Scott at last went off in a taxi. But morning came too soon and the phone rang and when I sleepily answered there was Enid saying that she did want to see me for a moment. So I let her come. She was absolutely distraught and though she kept saying she had so much pride and could not tell me things, yet she did.

What she wanted most was to find out where Gloria was. I said that they had been with me until two and had asked me to go with them to the Palace and dance, and I had refused. Enid said, “You don’t have to hedge with me, or say that they danced all night.”

I insisted they might have, for once I had been at the Palace with Scott and had sat on the balcony watching the dawn come up over the world as the full moon also rode the clouds. She asked me several times where Gloria was and I would not tell her.

Last night Enid had been so desperate that she left a note in the inn saying she was going to leave and had gone downtown and decided she couldn’t treat Gloria that way and so she came back late. She was full of beer and on top of that she took Luminal and went walking on the golf links. Here she went to sleep and this morning was awakened by three bellboys and a woman coming to carry her back into the inn!

I told Enid that as far as I could see the only solution of this matter was for her and Gloria to get out of town. I suggested that she do some packing and so be ready. I gave her some coffee and felt awfully sorry for her, because it was for her breaking health and mind that the girls came here to begin with, and now Gloria had so deserted her, because of her love for Scott, that Enid was being sacrificed and was in a worse state than when they arrived.

Enid kept asking me if Gloria was not drunk last night and I said I did not think she had had much at all. Enid did herself, or she never would have fallen asleep on the golf links. She said that the clothes she was wearing had been put on twenty-four hours before.

“Gloria has had other affairs, but she has stayed true to Spike until now,” Enid said sadly. “I don’t know what has come over her. It is perfectly terrible and hurts my pride and can do no one any gocti. And how will it end?” She paused a moment and went on. “Scott is a very weak person. I have nothing against him but he is so selfish and like a weak drowning person and he is grabbing at Gloria like a straw. But she will do him no good for she cannot stay with him. But if he is to be saved someone will have to go on helping him.”

I thought this over and it seemed very true to me. I wondered if I were going to be the next straw and be able to stick long enough to do what saving and salvaging could be done for Scott.

Enid decided she must get back to the inn as Gloria might come back. She quit asking me to tell her where they were since I wouldn’t. She had gone to various hotels last night to find them, but of course since he was not registered in his name she had not been able to locate them. As she left I told her that if she felt she had to get in touch with Gloria later on that I would be here and she could call me and I would have Gloria phone her.

I almost cried in parting, feeling sorry for Enid and being awfully tired myself. Anyhow I won her completely for she went home and did all the packing in no time and the day unfolded by the two girls leaving the inn and taking rooms at the Gould Hotel. Scott phoned me at four-thirty to ask me to come to the Royal and help him pack as he was now going to the inn since the girls had left! Such goings-on!

I hurried down to the Royal and Scott told me that he had decided the girls should go on to Chimney Rock and maybe they were on their way there now. But he wasn’t getting rid of Gloria that easy, for she later explained that Enid got sick as they left the inn and so they went to the Gould Hotel.

When I first entered Scott’s room I found him sound asleep on the lounge in a most uncomfortable position. So I set to work to find all his shirts and odds and ends that were scattered all around the two rooms and put them into the two suitcases and a briefcase. I was about finished when he woke.

He told me that he had been to the inn during the day and had tried to get Enid to trust him. He is determined that Gloria shall take Enid to New York City to a psychiatrist friend of his for he feels that Enid is on the verge of a break such as Zelda had. But instead of being able to make Enid feel nice about him, she resented the whole business and told Gloria that he tried to make love to her. Whereas Scott told me that she was feeling so sad that she just came over and put herself into his arms and seemed to be listening to all that he said about her future.

Scott now ordered dinner and was very sad wondering where the girls were, “on their way to Chimney Rock,” he said with a sigh. Then the phone rang and he was overcome by the message. He was still protesting when suddenly no one was on the other end. “It was Gloria,” he said. He went over to the window and sat with his head on his hands. “She asked me what I had done to Enid. She says she never wants to see me again.”

A moment later a knock came on the door and there was Gloria. He took her in his arms and she was crying hard (as she had been over the phone). They went into the bedroom and the waiter came with the dinner and I had him leave it and said that he’d have to have the slip signed later.

I could hear the low voices in the other room. Scott was being comforting, but later I found that he was being hard, too, for she had criticized him and said something about what he did to Enid and he had merely tried to win her to like him so that his suggestion for her future would be acceptable. On the contrary, she does not want to see him again, but she told Gloria that I was so very kind to her and gave her coffee and that she likes me.

Gloria told Scott that she had treated poor Enid so terribly and was blaming herself about that, but he brought her up short by saying that she should have thought of that sooner and it was not reasonable to do so now. How strange of him to be harsh with her because of her overwhelming love for him and her entire preoccupation with him! Many a time she would not have remained with him, but he is utterly lonely and seems afraid to be alone for long and so insists upon companionship, and if you love him you have to stay and keep him from whatever devils he has when alone. Drinking keeps him awake, and the nights are so long. Well, Gloria has not yet paid full price for her illicit love. And as she said, he wants such close contact all the time. Just to feel another person there (a woman of course) silences some wild fever in his body.

Gloria told him that she would have to go right back to the Gould where Enid was alone in their rooms. Scott told me to go along (I had eaten my dinner alone) for I was the only one Enid likes now, as she has turned completely against Gloria too, and was most resentful of her treatment of her. As I went off with Gloria, Scott said he would expect to hear from us pretty soon and would wait in those rooms, though he had given them up. And would later on go back to the inn.

When Gloria and I got to the Gould we found that poor little Enid was sprawled on her bed, face down, hair disarranged, face flushed and looking so defenseless, sound asleep. We went into the next room, which was Gloria’s, and talked awhile and then we went back or rather I did, and helped Scott check out of his hotel. Luckily I had plenty of money for he had to have more. He is so very casual about money and spends so much that he never seems to have enough.

Gloria now came running over to us again and Scott said he would go with her, and though he couldn’t go to their rooms (for he cannot risk upsetting Enid if she should see him) he and Gloria could sit on the porch of the hotel. So I said good-bye to them at a path and gladly went on home alone. It was too fast a pace and too emotional for me to want to stay in it any longer.

But my hopes of peace were short lived, for when I had gotten to bed, the phone rang at eleven and there was Scott who said that Enid had awakened and that Gloria could not cope with the problem alone and for me to dress and he would call for me in a taxi and I would have to go down there and take charge.

I wondered which of all of us would break next! I dressed—it seems that I am always madly dressing to do something for Scott. When he dresses, he pulls on pants, shirt and shoes, and cannot see why women should take a longer time ! But I was ready when he came and on the way down he told me that he was now going back to the inn and I said to go ahead, since there was nothing more he could do, and I would stay as long as seemed advisable.

I went to Gloria’s room and she let me in (I am sure that she had not wanted me at all, but had to give in to Scott and his planning, as everyone seems to have to do). When she opened Enid’s door Enid said she did not want me to see her in this state. But I went right in, the poor girl was certainly drunk and was still holding a whiskey glass in her hand. She had said that she was going out for dinner, but now she changed her mind and said she was not hungry and though Gloria got us some cheese sandwiches, the child really did not want anything. She talked quite coherently but without inhibitions. She said that she had a great deal of pride and felt so badly to have me see her in this state.

I sat down on the bed beside her and petted her and she responded warmly. A lot of the time she told me what a fine psychiatrist I would make because so many women did not want to go to men and that they would tell me just anything. When Gloria went into the next room, Enid got up and shut the door. She said, “If I had known that Gloria and Scott were going to have an affair, I would have done something about it in the beginning. I have resented Gloria all my life. I want to tell you all about it.” Gloria came back into the room at one-thirty a.m. and said how late it was and sent for a taxi for me.

Finally I got to sleep, hoping that the excitement would lessen.

I fully expected that Enid would want to see me today (the sixth) but Gloria lied and said that Enid was still sleeping. As a matter of fact she was still drunk and Gloria had been drinking a lot too. Finally she was unable to cope with the situation and got a nurse for Enid, and then wanted Dr. Dole, their doctor in Nashville, to come on and take charge. Gloria phoned her husband and as she cried over the phone he got very excited and insisted that he was coming right on with the doctor by airplane. Gloria begged him not to do this, but he insisted.

Gloria called me twice and so did Scott. I went to the inn at three. Scott was drinking heavily. He had a date for dinner with Gloria at the Gould at seven-thirty, but she told me afterward that he did not eat a thing, just drank more beer. Scott told me that he thought that perhaps Spike would arrive that night in the airplane, but he didn’t —not until the next morning.

I was so tired with all the emotional upset of the others that I got myself some supper and went to bed very early, shutting the two doors between me and the phone so that if it rang I would not hear it. I don’t believe it rang, though, for Scott and Gloria stayed together in the lobby of the hotel until two a.m., having beer and talking over all the ins and outs of the affair. Gloria was so crazy about him that she got on her knees by him once and just threw herself on his breast and they kissed passionately right there in the lobby, but probably only bellboys saw them as it was so late.

The morning of the seventh I went to town to cash Scott’s checks and to do some shopping, but I kept feeling that I ought to be home in case someone needed me.

Scott had a sad day, as he told me when he asked me to come to the inn for dinner with him. It seems that he had written a note to Spike saying that they should have an interview. It contained a veiled threat that he would meet Spike in any way Spike wanted. Scott was so sure that Spike would fight that he had some very sharp beer-can openers on his table to attack or protect himself with if Spike did fight. Scott knew that he was in such a terrible condition, not having had any food and not much sleep for goodness knows how long, that he would have to keep control of the situation by quick action.

When Spike did come Scott felt that he himself kept control of everything. “I held Spike with my eyes and kept the conversation on whatever I wanted. I talked mostly about Enid’s dangerous condition and how tired Gloria had gotten taking care of Enid. I insisted that the best psychiatrist was in New York and Enid should go there.” (But events certainly worked out differently.)

After Scott and I had dinner we went to a movie, of Shirley Temple. But he couldn’t stand it and went out and called up the Gould where Gloria and Spike were and told them he was so restless and they invited us over. On the way he kept telling me how much he loved Gloria and what could he do about it.

We found Gloria in bed looking wonderful, though she was full of soothing tablets that Dr. Dole had given her. Scott was hazy with beer and sat down beside her on a chair and I went over to the other side of the room and had a talk with Spike. He was in pajamas and a mussed dressing gown and slippers. I thought how terrible it was of Scott to take us up there and make them entertain us when all they wanted was to go to sleep. Spike had not had any sleep for some time and was living on whiskey! Gloria was keeping more or less calm with some medicine that Dr. Dole had given her. The nurse came down from Enid’s room to say that she was sleeping quietly.

Spike gave Scott two bottles of beer and I had nothing but ice water. Somehow the lineup got twisted and Scott got on Spike’s bed and talked to Spike, who was in a chair, and I went over and sat with Gloria and over rubbed her head and arms. She had burst out at Spike, saying that she did not want him to turn off the bureau lights even if they were in her eyes, and she begged me to tell Scott that she did not usually burst out like this and that she did not want him to think she was like this in her home.

I tentatively suggested that it was time to go, but not until Scott got tired of talking to Spike did he decide to leave, and that was eleven-thirty. Scott came over to Gloria’s bed and asked in a thrilling voice, “May I kiss you good night?”

“Of course,” she said with a radiant upward look and he bent and kissed her cheek.

I saw a dark and terrible look come over Spike’s face and for a moment I thought he might be going to strike Scott. As soon as Scott and I got out of the door, Spike viciously banged it after us and noisily turned the key in the lock. Scott asked me if he should have come up to their bedroom and I truthfully replied that it did seem to upset Spike.

Scott could not bear the thought of going home yet, to be alone with his thoughts, and so we went to the Golden Rail which stays open all night. Scott sat drinking more canned ale and at one-thirty he was finally ready to go. During that time he had said : “Gloria is so self-centered, arrogant, so sure that she is the top dog. And the funny thing is that she has had her way with me. I love that girl, I love her in spite of everything.” He added after a bit of thought, “I do not know how deep a part she has in my life—yet. Time will tell. And what a situation now! There are four people broken now because of this affair—Gloria, Spike, Enid and myself.” (I felt like saying that there would be five, if he didn’t soon let me get some rest and peace.)

“If you would have had me, Laura, there never would have been any Gloria. But you wouldn’t, and so—”

“So you blame me?” I demanded.

“No, there is no blame, ever —things just are. Just you and I would have been so simple though, none of these awful complications. I have never known anyone like you, pushing sex away from you and feeling so strongly inhibited that it paralyzes me.” “That’s the way I am,” I said.

“Well, you will go down in history as Scott Fitzgerald’s one failure,” he sighed.

“What does history care?” I asked. “It cares about me,” he retorted.

He talked of Jung’s divisions of people. “You are a heart extrovert,” he declared. “You think of other people and not of yourself. I am an intuitive introvert. I take people to me and change my conception of them and then write them out again.

“Women don’t remember things,” he continued. “Zelda didn’t.”

We chatted on about nothing and suddenly he burst out, “You make me mad, Laura, with your complete acceptance of things. You don’t fight.” I felt like saying that I had found fighting did not pay, but there was no use arguing with him.

I was very tired, but the next morning the phone kept ringing. People, women mostly, still phone me to ask if they cannot have appointments with me for readings, and I always say that I am not doing any of this now. It was becoming such a terrible strain, at all hours of the day and night, meeting one person after another and having different problems to solve for them. I don’t want this to be my lifework—not for just anybody.

Scott asked me for lunch and I went over. He had had a long interview with Dr. Dole this morning, as he had had yesterday too. He says that Dr. Dole is an intelligent man and they had a good talk. Dr. Dole told Scott that he and Gloria could not have had happiness even if they had gone away together, as it might have developed, for Gloria would sooner or later realize how much she had given up and would blame Scott.

Scott could not have slept much the night before for now, after lunch, at which he only drank beer, he went right to sleep and I came home. At five the phone rang again and there was Scott saying that he had packed and was leaving town. I asked if I should come over and say good-bye, and did so. In his room with Scott so. In his room with Scott was Mr. Burden, the manager of the inn. Scott was arranging to keep his room or one of them as he would come back.

When Mr. Burden went out, Scott turned to me and said, “I can’t work under the present strain. I better go away again, for if I don’t, Gloria will phone me again, or I will phone her. I have gone to the phone six times to call, but I didn’t. I wrote her seventeen letters and tore them all up. Finally I wrote one for them both. Here it is: ‘I am going away. There is nothing more to say. Scott.’ Now I have to go some place where Gloria cannot guess where I am, I can’t trust myself here. I would call.”

Whereupon he went to the phone and called the Gould Hotel but asked for Dr. Dole. The doctor said he was very busy just now but would call back soon. He added, “Mr. and Mrs. Dart have already gone.”

Scott was awfully upset. “I always have my way,” he moaned. “I wanted it to end this way, but though I win, I lose.” He walked up and down and threw himself on his bed with his head in his arms and cried. Then he got control again and paced up and down. “I am glad I kissed her last night in her bed,” he declared. “Love dies, of course, but it is awful to have it torn apart when it is strongest. This is leaving an awful wound, with bleeding parts. But it doesn’t matter—nothing matters.” And he sobbed aloud and went into the next room and threw himself on the bed there. I sat quietly at the desk with clasped hands, wondering if he wanted me to go or to stay so he could have human companionship in this emotional crisis.

He came in again. “Perhaps this is just a beer jag. It is better this way. I couldn’t have married her. I didn’t know that I could feel like this again. Well, the doctor earned his thousand dollars today. He earned it.” A pause, and Scott continued, “I’ll never see her again. Two years from now we’d meet and see all the faults and wonder what had happened to us. When you love, even the repulsive things about a person you love. Pimples on his chest—things like that.”

A messenger boy now arrived with two cartons of Scott’s special cigarettes and a short penciled note from Gloria saying that she had gone and hoped he would be well soon and able to work. He cried some more.

When Dr. Dole did phone back they did not have a long conversation. Scott kept repeating to me that the doctor had surely earned his money today.

“Gloria is the strongest feminine character that I know except one,” Scott said. (The other was Zelda, I guess, and look what has happened to her! It might be a little better to be more yielding to fate and not break right off like a tree snapped in a storm!)

“She is so honest. She had to tell me everything. She was so humble with me and told me everything she thought and felt. And she did want so to have a baby, a son, by me. It was touching. Why she even said she wished I had a disease and she caught it so she would have something of mine! She was completely mine. No reservations at all.”

At nine we went to a movie and on to the Golden Rail, where we had sandwiches. But he could only eat a very little goose liver. That’s all the food he has had for four days. He did a lot more talking, some about me.

“You have got to put your soul into your hand reading, Laura, you can’t give less to anyone, nor say that time is up. You’re a doctor. You’ll never make a good writer, any more than Zelda could be a dancer in the ballet, an etoile. But perhaps I can help you to write better.”

He went on, “I use perhaps fifteen hundred words a day. I have a very large vocabulary. I have torn up thousands of words in stories. I write twelve for every six I keep—that’s why I command the prices I do, baby.”

His mind came back to Gloria. “During our first acquaintance, Gloria’s and mine, she asked me, ‘If anything happens, will you take care of me?’ And I told her, T cannot in the future, for I have heavy obligations already, but I will temporarily.’ ”

He mused, “Zelda is a ‘sickie.’ I haven’t any patience with sickies, and I don’t want to have to support any more.”

Scott told me that when he and Zelda were young that Hearst had two reporters on their trail all the time to see what they were going to do next. For when they might pull some crazy stunt, he wanted it reported. One of Scott’s names for Zelda was “Goofie,” meaning crazy. Strange! He told me of once in 1929 when he and Zelda in full evening dress jumped off a balcony at a Paris restaurant into a pool of water. They got arrested but a lot of money got them free. Of course they were drunk. Once he drove their car out upon a railroad track over a trestle and they slept there all night and just got off in time in the morning as a train came along.

When I got home the phone was ringing and there was Gloria saying they had gotten as far as White Sulphur and she was sick and how was Scott. I told her that he was much upset thinking of her and in fact said everything I could think of to make her happier. She asked especially how his mind was, which made me think that Dr. Dole had gotten her to leave for that reason. It must have been something drastic that got her to leave the love she is determined to have.

Later on I found out that she had tried her best to go and have a last interview with Scott at his hotel before leaving, but somehow Dr. Dole overruled her with his force and got her to leave hurriedly with Spike.

At last got to bed again, but of course had called Scott first. Oh, yes, there was a last note for me from Gloria too, saying that she was so grateful to me for all I had done for them. Well, there was enough trouble as it is, but without me, there would have been more, I am sure !

In the morning before I wanted to get up there was a phone call and a telegram from Gloria. It said, “I am so baffled, why did Scott do what he did to me. Ask him, I don’t care what it is, but tell me the truth.” She called up later from White Sulphur and I said I thought the telegram would upset him, and she said not to give it to him then. I hadn’t because I thought he might be sleeping and did not call for that reason. I asked her if she meant the reason they left so suddenly was something Dr. Dole said. She said yes. I came to the conclusion that it was because Dr. Dole had told her Scott was losing his mind and would have a nervous breakdown and perhaps either he or Spike would be killed that decided her to get off on the long trek home with her husband. (This was correct.) A little later, Spike phoned me and said that Gloria was in bed and asked him to call me and say that on no account was I to pass on the tele gram she had sent. He sounded sad and worried, but said that he thought she would be all right once they got really on the way home. I wonder if he wasn't afraid that she would get away from him yet and make her way back here! He probably doesn’t like the way I protected her and Scott, either.

It wasn’t until three-thirty that Scott called me. He told me to come right over. I did, and went right up to Scott’s rooms and gave him the envelope with the letter Gloria wrote me in it, which she had asked me to show Scott, and out of the envelope fell the paper on which I had written the telegram and which I had not at all wanted to show him. Of course he grabbed it and was much upset by what she could have meant by it, especially, “Find out why he did what he did to me.”

“What could that be?” he asked over and over. “I know it isn’t a baby anyhow. But what can she mean?”

At this juncture the phone rang and there was Gloria from her hotel room in White Sulphur. They had quite a loving talk and he told her at once of how I had slipped up and he had the telegram and what did she mean. She replied that she hadn’t meant a thing, but had been nearly crazy at having to leave and so did that irrational thing. Scott wasn’t satisfied, however, and got to brooding about it later on.

He said, “There’s one thing you always get back in full measure, and that’s friendship. In love, sometimes, not always; nor in anything else, but in friendship.”

He began to discuss me. “In spite of your being dominated by men—first your father and then your husband in a very different way—yet you burst your harness, to speak inelegantly, and are a definite personality. You are on your way somewhere.”

About drinking he said, “I had to give up hard liquor, couldn’t take it. Now I may have to give up this beer, though some races live practically on liquor.”

Well, he gave it up—and the story follows:

At long last Scott has gone north to Baltimore and I wish I had all my notes written down in here in finished form, for it is a regular novel before I get through with it. His life is more interesting than anything he has written. I had no time to write in here for all the time that I was not with Scott I was doing his typing, and hard work it all was too. For except for one brief time after Gloria left he was not sober at all between then and when he had to go to the hospital on September nineteenth. And I was glad to get him to the hospital for I was near the breaking point, too, and my nerves, trying to deal with an alcoholic, were near exhaustion.

Scott was trying to get off of beer on August eleventh and so was very cold and precise and trembly. White as a sheet. He dictated a lot of letters and generally got his files up-to-date. I came home but at ten he appeared and paraded around the room dictating some more and signing letters. He went back to the inn in forty-five minutes. He is terribly worried about a rash he has on his chest and legs and has the wild idea that it might be syphilis. Of this he has a complete and terrible horror. Three times before in his life he had the test taken and it was always negative, but this time he thinks what far-reaching effects it would have on other lives and families if he has got it. He thought he could have gotten it in New York.

In order to keep the examination entirely secret he planned to go to Spartanburg, South Carolina! He went on the twelfth and had the test taken under some false name. It was as hot as blazes and he had a bad time, mainly because he worried so about his rash, and because he was planning what he would do if he did have it.

The next night he called me and asked if I didn’t want to come to the inn as there was a dance on, and we could sit on the terrace and listen to the music. I said I didn’t, sc as he was lonesome he came over to talk to me for an hour. Mrs. Stuart had introduced him to some of the girls but they bored him to death and so he turned to me. Among other things he said, “Tomorrow a new life has got to begin for me, whether the doctor’s report is favorable or not. I have made similar resolves many times before though. But I’ve got to be different, there are some things I cannot do any more.” (I guess he meant whoring around the countryside.) “Twice before I have had this fear. I have been going over my whole life tonight, and it is a nostalgic feeling. Tomorrow the new life begins. I have a plot worked out to begin writing tomorrow, but I don’t want to speak of it now.”

He sighed once or twice and said wistfully, “I would like a blank period in my life. I have suffered too much and too long. I’d like not to feel for a while, and I am tired of life. Whatever joy I had of Gloria has been wiped out of my mind by this terrible worry, though I don’t worry quite so much as I did last night. I have the strength of a weak man. Fear and necessity drive me and keep me alive and working.”

On August fourteenth, he went downtown at three and phoned to Spartanburg to find out the results of the test.

He then called me, and said,

“All is okeydoke.”

“Do you want to celebrate?”

I asked.

He told me to come down to Freddie’s. I wore a black boucle suit with white blouse and he said, “How somber you are dressed.” I asked if he didn’t like black and white and he said he did and only disliked one color—a yellow green, a sickish color.

We sat in Freddie’s in a back alcove and no one was in the restaurant at four. As he drank he told me, “Never again will I take a chance. Can you think of anything more horrible than being syphilitic and having your health ruined by the mercury you have to take? Do you think the French could make a farce out of this? Have ten people and a detective, he to find out who has the disease. He finally finds out that they all have. No, Frenchwomen wouldn’t laugh at this as it includes disfigurement.”

“Don’t you feel happy this afternoon?” I asked.

“No, I don’t feel happy or relieved. I was all keyed up for action. Now there’s a letdown. It’s all over, no need for action, never was. It was all mental. A businessman probably wouldn’t have gone through any of this in his imagination. I couldn’t write my story this morning. I wrote to Dr. Dole instead about what to do if I found I was tainted. I was going to kill myself or let Spike do it.

But this was only if Gloria was also positive. I thought of different ways—a gun, or jumping off a boat. But no, there would be no life insurance then. But I have always thought that jumping off a boat would be so fine—no one near, and you need never speak to anyone again, all alone at last. Just take a swan dive off the end of the boat—and then the end.”

Scott went on drinking. “I’ve had too much beer today, have not kept to the schedule I’m trying to follow.” He looked at me penetratingly and said, “You haven’t as much vitality as you had when I first came here. I have been thinking you were going to have a break.”

“A break?”

“Oh, I don’t mean a real breakdown. You aren’t one of those persons who has that. I meant a break in your work—you’d have to take a rest—break up your schedule to an easier tempo. You are subconsciously worrying about your affairs, too, the divorce and all it entails. You aren’t quite prepared to face all it means. You demand nothing. You have been so abused by people and life, you don’t demand enough. You are really an intuitive extrovert—I didn’t mean to hurt you before by saying you are an extrovert. I’m a good psychologist but I am not as good as you are. You want a happy world, but you aren’t going to try to change it. You want to make everyone happy, but you have a melancholy heart. You are so alone.”

It doesn’t matter how much I tell Scott that I like to be alone, he has to judge others from the way he feels when alone. I asked him if he had really meant it when he said I would never make a writer.

“No, I didn’t say you never would be a writer. I meant you would never seriously devote all your time to writing. When you sell something, you will have made the break. You can write.” He went on to tell me that I really ought to be in Hollywood. “There you would be a great success and make real money. I would be glad to back you and introduce you to my influential friends.”

Finally he said he was going back to the inn to work on his story so I stayed downtown and shopped. Bought a book on numbers, which Scott bitterly condemned another day, saying it was the crassest ignorance that could accept numerology or astrology, though he agreed there was truth in palmistry as it was a part of you.

Scott actually cut down on his beer and was getting fairly sober by August fifteenth. He was not nearly so affable, but I said I liked him this way and that he is more of a power, as he should be. It only lasted three days, though, alas.

At seven-forty he phoned and wanted to go to the movies so I hurried and was ready. The only things of note that he said tonight according to my notes are: “My life has a cycle—-work, drink, love.”

“Which do you prefer?” I asked. “L’amour of course. If I had enough money it would be this all the time.” Then he got cynical about something I said or didn’t say and he announced, “Women don’t have minds. They function with part minds or if a woman has a man’s mind, she is too mannish to be attractive. I don’t care for mannish women.”

He was not at all complimentary to me, though when he gives you a blow he tries to soften it with a kinder speech. He said, “You have the loudest voice, man or woman’s, that I ever heard. You should belong to a circus.” (As a barker, I suppose.) He went on, “But you can’t change. It’s you. It expresses your vitality, and it’s your vitality I love about you, as other people do. Everybody likes you. You are the most popular person I ever knew. Well, if you love New York you have to have the New York traffic. You can’t just stop the traffic or it wouldn’t be New York.” I had to smile to myself at the thought that the only thing he could think of to compare with my voice was the New York traffic.

“Maybe I can change,” I said hopefully.

“No, I wouldn’t change you for anything. Nobody could be cross with you. Zelda had some of the same rowdyism about her and used to laugh hysterically and I’d try to change her, but then found out I couldn’t. It was part of her.” In a moment he added, “Now I’m critical. I’m working hard and not drinking. I may not see you tomorrow, for it’s the climax of my story.”

He had telegraphed Dr. Dole asking if the letters he sent him to deliver to Gloria had arrived. “For this thing must end now. I can’t have it hanging on. Those letters were written in passion and now is the only time they have significance.”

On August seventeenth I got a telegram from Gloria asking how Scott is. I phoned him and he asked me to come to the inn to listen to his story. It was very good. However, he changed most of it later on—it was the one called Finishing School.

On the eighteenth Scott phoned me at three and said to bring my typewriter over. He had written four thousand words and torn up most of them. He is on a beer diet again, and evidently it does not spur his brain on to do good work anymore than when he was off it. He had the waiter bring up a special large steak and this was the last time until he left on September nineteenth that I saw him eat any food with relish, or in fact eat much of anything. Just a nibble of something, or soup, or something liquid.

“You don’t like me today, do you?” Scott asked.

“I am afraid of you today,” I said.

So he insisted upon giving me some whiskey sour, and enjoyed seeing me relax. “I’ll bet you give a war whoop soon,” he said hopefully. But I didn’t.

“You must charge me for all the time you are with me,” he said. “Except when we are at the movies or the Imperial. You are a hireling. Here is a check for twenty dollars. I said I’d give you half-time work, and I’d like to feel you were charging me too much and so were looking out for yourself. We have to look out for ourselves in this world. I use people up. Mrs. Owens worked for me for three years. And she needs a vacation badly. Here, send her this twenty-five dollars.”

Then he handed me the third letter he had received from Gloria and he cried bitterly. The letter was sad. It said that Gloria was having a breakdown and was in the Dix hospital. It also said that Spike, who loves golf so and athletics, had been to a doctor who pronounced his heart in bad condition and has forbidden him all activity.

“I break everybody I touch.” Scott sobbed. “I’m no good any more. I’ll just have to get out.” (Out of the world he meant.) “There never was a former affair, and there have been many, quite like this one with Gloria. The others were my party. I paid for them. And now here is Gloria, whose family practically owns Nashville, and at the cost of a thousand and more, she is taken home—and for the first time I forget Zelda. Always before, with other women I could see her face, but with Gloria I forgot— forgot Zelda.” This seemed to distress him as much as any of the rest, or Gloria’s suffering. “That girl, Gloria, loved me—and I loved her.”

I sat quietly and Scott remarked, “Part of your great charm is in your silence.” Then he went on, “Must I go through life without love because what I touch is wrecked? I can’t— I’ve got to do what I do. Or get out. I am so bad, such a lousy son of a bitch, that I’ve got to do something so good, so good in my work that it counterbalances the bad. I’ve got to be good, and I can be in my work.”

Scott got up and paced from one room to the other. He leaned over the desk and scratched the top of his head on the edge of it, as if he would punish himself that way. He would ask me various times to scratch his head as hard as I could, but he never said it was hard enough. I got tired, and my fingernails too, and his head showed no effects.

“I never talk to anyone as I do to you,” Scott said. “Then I express myself. Things I think but had not formulated into words until now I can tell you because you understand. But you know how I feel about you—no romance. But you are a wonderful companion. You know I feel this way because I constantly seek you out.”

Returning to the thought of Gloria, he said, “I don’t have any patience with sick people, except my invalid. None with Enid. She was sacrificed to Gloria’s love and passion. She should have been taken to New York and she will now break for she is a sick girl. When people do go crazy they tell themselves the ultimate lie about life. They say, ‘It isn’t so,’ and after that nothing has reality or is in its proper place.”

He said when he falls asleep now he has terrible dreams. “There are white-haired judges sternly asking me, ‘Who are you to have so much love? To take love when and where you will? How are you better than others or more deserving?’”

We went to the Royal as Scott had to go somewhere to pass the night hours and forget his woes. Only stayed until one-thirty, however, as everyone had gone and the orchestra went home.

The next day, Scott phoned to say he was in a daze (he had been for some time) and could I come up for lunch. I said my hair was wet and so he let me alone, and no doubt slept most of the day. And I worked. Have little enough time home now and find this unorganized life very trying.

At seven-thirty he phoned me to come to the inn as he had more letters from Gloria. They tell of her love for him and each time say that she hopes her letters and her sickness do not affect him and that he is doing his work well. The more she writes this the less he writes.

We went to the movies and saw China Seas, very good, and then to Freddie’s until all hours. Kept Freddie up late and he told us many stories about how he used to be robbed every night until he threatened to take fingerprints. Scott seemed much interested in this and the talk about waitresses, and even told me that he could put it in his story. But it did not turn up in any phase of his story. He doesn’t always know just what he can use when he is so full of beer.

Scott asked to see the two stories I had published, and so the next day I brought them to him. He read one and exclaimed, “This is good. You have a gift of narrative after all and you held the suspense to the end.” (Another time he suggested sourly that I had written myself out in two stories!)

He likes to plan and plan for others; it gives him a sense of power and value in the world. So now he wanted to boss me in my dealings with my husband about the proposed divorce. He wrote a letter which if I had sent would have given Bill apoplexy and would not have gained me a tmng.

“Someday you will fall completely in love,” Scott prognosticated. “And you will be all in all to him. He will be lucky for you have so much to give. You know you are really a passionate woman. You have so much vitality.”

He says my conversation frequently has “Oh” in about twenty different cadences. (Sometimes I don’t dare make comments on what he says for fear of saying the wrong thing, and “Oh” can be interpreted any way!) He added, “Your little grunts of approval or disapproval are a large part of your charm.” (It seems too bad to me to have to depend on such a thing for a large part of one’s charm!)

He went back to thinking of Gloria. “I am getting tired of women now and turning against them after a recent entire going out to them. I have reached a point of satiation. Today letters from both Gloria and Zelda upset me.”

He went on to talk about Zelda’s break, and added, “You are not the kind of person whose mind would break—the body maybe, but never the nr'^T. Yo'i are not at all psychotic.”

“Poor Gloria,” he mourned. “And there I thought she was so strong. But women are so weak really, emotionally unstable, and their nerves, when strained, break. They can endure more physical pain then men, and also boredom. The boredom they endure is incredible, but not nerve and emotional strain. The greatest women of all time are those of conquered passion, or no passion. They are Florence Nightingale, Julia Ward Howe, and Jane Addams. Theirs has been sublimated and useful work. They had no conflict, as in Zelda’s case. She became so tired with her ballet dancing that when she came home at night she could be no proper wife for me.”

After a moment of silence, he went on, “I am full of self-disgust. Here I have wasted six weeks on emotion and no work done. My impulse not to come back here was right and also not to have anything to do with Gloria again. I spent time running away from her to New York and because of my loneliness there, I got embroiled again. Altogether I only had two good days with Gloria because of the disturbance and the ringing of the phone. Then I was upset about her departure and subsequent nervous breakdown.

“This has been a wasted summer. I never remember such a wasted one. I have always been a hard worker. I worked hard and I played hard.” (I thought, yes, and drank hard.) “Drink is an escape. That is why so many people do it now. There is Weltschmerz—the uncertainty of the world today. All sensitive minds feel it. There is a passing away of all the old order we know and we wonder what there will be for us in the new—if anything. The future is dark.”

Scott took another drink. “They’ve been saying for years that Scott Fitzgerald was through.” (Well, I guess sometimes he thinks that one day they will be right.)

“I can stop drinking when there’s something to be done. But what I don’t understand is why I begin again. I have made two different schedules now and can’t accomplish what I set myself.”

At ten p.m. he began to give me a long lecture on Karl Marx and then said I did not seem to be listening (I was dead tired) and so told me to go on home. And I was delighted to escape.

Scott showed me a letter he had just received from the woman I remind him of, who is now at Saranac with her second son who is dying of tuberculosis. She used to be happy on the French Riviera where she had a salon and was, as Scott says, “perfect.” But now life has got her, too, and she says in her letter that life makes one think, but she doesn’t want to think.

“Life seems to be breaking us all,” said Scott sadly. “My friends have always been strong, and usually excelled in some line, too. I pick out one person here and there, not many, to be interested in. I don’t think I ever picked a dud, except one, a boy named Achilles, and he finally took himself out of my life. I can’t dismiss a servant and it is the same way with friends. I pick them out carefully and then they are a part of my life and I can’t cut them off. That’s why I have to exercise so much care in letting them in. I don’t care for people in a crowd for I loathe the mass mind. But you like them for they mean something to you.” “Perhaps I don’t like them as much as you think,” I said.

Scott ignored this. “Everyone is lonely,” he mused. “All creative artists are lonely, it goes with creation. I create a world for others. Many women because of this want to go away with me, the most recent being Gloria. They think the world of delight I make for them will last forever then. I make them seem brilliant to themselves and most important. You do this, too, for people.

“You would have made a great actress, Laura. I have seen you act.” (I suppose when telling fortunes.) “You have a sense of ‘story,’ but you don’t use the right accent on words. In your poems you put ‘Oh,’ which means nothing unless indicated and this is impossible in writing. You don’t read enough good prose. If you read for two years perhaps you can then appreciate Tender. But it will be longer than that before you can write. Tender took my guts out.” Scott showed me the fifth letter from Gloria in which she said she felt so badly about the possibility that he was forgetting her and maybe sitting on the terrace or dancing with another girl. She said she is so upset at having mismanaged everything and having sent for Dr. Dole to come and get Enid when Scott had told her that was the wrong thing to do. She added that it was awful to be spirited off home herself, in all that heat, and now she has nothing—only love thoughts of the past as she lies sick in the Dix hospital.

“I do make a world for people,” Scott sighed. “Sometimes they don’t know it until afterward and then they miss it so. I make people think.” (Another time Scott told me that he wanted me to do what I hated most, which was to think, that I didn’t want to use my mind to think.)

Scott doesn’t dare write any more to Gloria. “We have gotten all out of the affair that there is in it to get and there is no use in prolonging it,” Scott said. He did send two letters in care of Dr. Dole and one telegram. It told her that the “brave inherit the railroad system,” the weak having to go in the parlor cars. He was trying to bolster up her fainting spirits. She had torn out a love poem from a book and sent it to him. It was about her love, but having to go back to her “lord” husband.

At least Gloria is not jealous of me. Once she asked Scott if he had made advances to me and he replied that he had, but I did not want such things.

Scott asked me to write Gloria a letter and enclose a last one from him. It read: “I would like to write you sometimes but there has been so much general damage that I don’t want to cause more. I am gradually better and have finished one story and a radio broadcast. I am going north the tenth to move and put daughter in school but expect to pass some time here again in the fall.

“It is cooler weather here. Reminding me of work and death. Some days I can’t believe that any of it happened—others I can’t believe anything else ever happened. Summers will come again perhaps. I wrote you a long letter but it seemed unnecessary so I put it away. Write me when you think of me if you want to. I worry about you every night.”

Scott turned to me and said, “I have never wasted so much time. In fact it has put me in debt again. I didn’t want to meet anyone. I don’t know. There has only been one contact out of all this that has meant anything to me, in giving me more than I had to give—you.” I was glad that I had had a peaceful and healing influence on his distraught mind.

His thoughts turned back to Gloria and their sad affair. “Everyone is turning to sex,” he said. “It is in the air, as is the case always before great catastrophes.”

“What catastrophes?” I asked.

“A violent revolution is coming, and in four years from now you’ll have to have a bread card. No more chocolate sodas!”

“In four years?” I asked incredulously.

“Well, in twelve years at the most. It’s a good thing that your son is being brought up in the public schools, with the lower classes. Scottie is aiming to be a great swell and it will be harder with her.”

For the next few days Scott tried so hard to cut down on beer to get at this writing of two stories. Between times he would take me downtown to one restaurant and another and to the movies. Katharine Hepburn is his favorite movie actress though he has not met her in real life. We saw Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina and Scott just loved the whole thing and only went out because he absolutely had to have a drink.

He certainly does like sinful love, and love that gets punished like poor Anna’s. He kept saying that the movie was “so true, so true.” Maybe it was to him, but to the majority of persons in the world I feel it isn’t.

Scott likes to talk about writers and writing and he gave me quite a bit of information about his own ideas and methods of writing.

He showed me a picture of Leonardo da Vinci which Zelda said resembled Scott. However he thinks that the face is sinister, whereas nearly every time he is told he looks like another person, that one is a fairy!

“If I can just be as successful as Thackeray, for instance, it will suffice me,” he said.

He went on analyzing himself. “I had to excel in everything I undertook so they would seek me out. I am really a lone wolf and though I wanted to be one of the gang I wasn’t permitted to be until I proved myself. When I was twelve I was at camp and once in a baseball game I was catcher and played without a mask. A ball hit my forehead and cut it terribly. Then I became a hero, but I was so puffed up about it I became insufferable and lost prestige again. In prep school I became a. wonderful football player.”

“And in Princeton?” I asked.

“It was different there. I was too light to make the football team and so I went in for literature and wrote the Triangle Show and the school paper. When they voted in Princeton for the most popular man, I was so touched by being voted first in ‘the most perfect gentleman.’ I had gone out of my way to be nice to so many people who had nothing and were nobodies and then they rewarded me by this vote. I was voted second in the ‘best politician’ and first in the ‘prettiest.’ This was not an honor but a slap.”

Scott also told me that he took a chorus girl’s part in Triangle shows. I imagine he makes a very lovely lady when dressed for the part!

“I don’t know why I can write stories. I don’t know what it is in me or that comes to me when I start to write. I am half feminine—that is, my mind is.”

“You do understand women,” I said.

“I understand everybody, one side of them anyway. I am a romantic and I can’t change, not now. I am mature. In fact I was mature at thirty, but I didn’t know it. Now that I am grown I can only write one way because my ideas won’t change. However, there is a new note creeping into literature because of socialism. It points a moral and a purpose. I belong to an in-between period—between two moralistic periods.”

“You set the pace for many others,” I said.

“All the small writers look up to me. I am a topnotcher; I am the maitre. My stories get truer and truer; I just can’t keep the truth out of them. I am a part of the race consciousness and so have influenced the language of youth and youth itself. My characters are all Scott Fitzgerald. Even the feminine characters are feminine Scott Fitzgeralds.”

“Don’t you use other models?”

“Not any single person but a melange of the characteristics of several together, interpreted through my eyes.”

“It must tax your mind.”

“I don’t know any man who has a better mind than I have,” he said.

“Neither do I,” I echoed truthfully.

“I used to like to be with my own thoughts, but for a year and a half now I haven’t been able to enjoy myself. So I get into trouble always seeking out companions—women. Three years ago I got insomnia because of Zelda’s trouble. I would sleep three hours, then wake and get up and work, go back to sleep again. But the time came when I was no longer able to get up and work when I woke and so now I just lie and think. My mind goes in circles, but it doesn’t get me anywhere.

“Sometimes the more I think, the madder I get. I want to get into a fight with a policeman, so then I write Redbook melodrama to get the toughness out of my system. I kill off a man wantonly in almost every issue.”

“Do you like to write for magazines?” I asked.

“No, I don’t. I like to write novels. In fact when I was working on Tender

I felt resentful that I had to write stories for the Post for money when I wanted to work on the novel. I am a novelist—not a short-story writer.”

“People like your short stories,” I insisted.

“I work on them. I wrote my first story for The Saturday Evening Post over twelve times. It was Head and Shoulders.”

He went on, “I used to be a terrific worker, but now my output is getting less and less. Chasing around after women interferes with my work. Marriage is the best arrangement after all for good work. Not that I did much on the two weeks of my honeymoon!”

“How would you tell others to write?”

“In the first place, listen. Just listen to how people talk. Words are all important, and truth. I don’t know music or painting. But I do have a passion for truth. I think that women are at least trying for truth now, too. They are trying to recognize and express it more than ever before in history. This is the new woman.”

“But you don’t like women novelists,” I said.

“No, there are no good ones of my age. But I do like Willa Cather and Edith Wharton. Willa is the best woman novelist in the United States.” “How do you like Thomas Wolfe of Asheville?”

“Tom’s genius is gigantic, tremendous, immense in its prolific scope. But he’ll have to learn to cut down, condense, and choose.”

Scott went on elaborating about Tom’s private life. It seems his appetite both for food and drink and yes, women, is as tremendous as his literary output! Scott said that Tom is a woman hater, probably because he is so big—six and a half feet tall, and is awkward. So women have made fun of him and it seems if he does have a love affair that he has to get up and go and look out of a window. It somehow restores his equilibrium. I wonder what the woman thinks!

Ernest Hemingway is Scott’s best friend and he admires him extravagantly, both in a literary way and as a man. He elaborated about how they met in Paris and how he helped Ernest there, though Ernest is a very proud man. “I never knew any other person but one, man or woman,” he said, “who is as strong as I am. That is Ernest Hemingway.”

I couldn’t help asking, “Why don’t you ever hear from him?”

Scott scowled at me, “I thought the world was one way and he said it was another. So we split.”

I didn’t dare ask for more specific information, but just a difference of opinion seemed a small reason to me for such a Damon and Pythias friendship to split up on. There is one thing though, Scott never mentions Ernest Hemingway except in the most glowing terms of friendship, love and admiration. There doesn’t seem to be much professional jealousy here, even if Scott does believe that Ernest is the “best damn writer in the United States,” and that he will last longer than Scott himself, thus taking the position that Scott covets for himself. He went on talking:

“If you want to be a top-notch writer you have to break with everyone. You have to show your own father up. At first they will throw you out for it, but in the end they will take you back on a different footing when the world acclaims you. You’ve got to go a lone, lone path.”

“Then people are angry with you at first for telling the truth?” I asked.

“Yes, you tell the truth. I have tried writing when cold, but it doesn’t pay. When anything goes wrong with my writing, I go back in the story and see where I left the truth, and there I pick up the thread again. Of course restrained emotion and understatements are valuable in writing. And never forget to listen to the way people talk.”

About the story of The Beautiful and Damned, he said, “The whole idea in it is the unfairness of a poor young man not being able to marry a girl with money. This theme comes up again and again, because I lived it. Finally I had to make money and to do so I had to be a topnotcher, a big shot, in my world of literature.”

“What do you think is your best novel?”

“The Great Gatsby. It has been translated abroad and has been more praised than the others. I was perfectly sober when I wrote it. Most of the time while I was writing Tender I was drinking. And Zelda was failing all that time, too. I neglected her and went away for weekends alone. I was terribly irritable and annoyed at the noise Scottie and her friends made. I told her once that she had cost me a whole day’s work. I was trying to make a smooth transition from one scene to another and had done it over and over for hours.”

“Does drink help so much?” I asked.

“Drink heightens feeling. When I drink it heightens my emotions and I put it in a story. But then it becomes hard to keep reason and emotion balanced. My short stories written when sober are stupid—like the fortune-telling one. It was all reasoned out, not felt.”

Scott really doesn’t think anything of my literary ability and neither did the editors of Liberty magazine. They wrote a letter to Scott saying that my Heavy Trunk did not come up to the level of the short shorts they accepted. Scott felt sorry for me and tried to soften the blow by saying, “I can give you ideas for articles. You could write one called Why I Know I’ll Never Be a Writer and take excerpts from your diaries to prove it. You must be careful of names, especially those of national importance. After five or ten years go by the things you wrote about people would not have an adverse effect on their lives.”

Scott does not like to give interviews but three times he did while at the inn. The one I was present at was with Battita. Scott declared, “This is the last I will ever give. I haven’t given an interview for eight years until this summer.” He then settled down to a speech to Battita about the generations of young people, using me as an example for the prewar young generation noted for its puritanical notions and therefore not being able to be itself. We had too many inhibitions. Then he came to his generation which he calls the lost generation because it was primarily the war generation. I spoke up once to try to help him on my generation, but he turned on me and barked, “Don’t try to put words into my mouth.”

He then told Battita not to quote him directly because, “I write much better than I talk.”

Scott told me that Battita would get fifty dollars for an interview with him, but Battita told me another time that he would be lucky if he got three dollars for it.

Published in Esquire magazine (December 1964, “Tales Beyond The Jazz Age”).