They arrived at twilight, and, as we strolledout among the sparkling hundreds, Daisy’s voicewas playing murmurous tricks in her throat. “These things excite me so,” shewhispered. “If you want to kiss me any time during theevening, Nick, just let me know and I’ll be gladto arrange it for you. Just mention my name. Orpresent a green card. I’m giving out green ——”
“Can’t repeat the past?” [Gatsby]cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”
“He talked a lot about the past, and Igathered that he wanted to recoversomething, some idea of himselfperhaps, that had gone into lovingDaisy. His life had been confused anddisordered since then, but if he couldonce return to a certain starting placeand go over it all slowly, he could findout what that thing was. . . .”
Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch,like silver idols weighing down their own whitedresses against the singing breeze of the fans.
Jordan’s fingers, powdered white over their tan, rested for a moment in mine.
Gatsby stood in the centre of the crimsoncarpet and gazed around with fascinated eyes.Daisy watched him and laughed, her sweet,exciting laugh; a tiny gust of powder rose fromher bosom into the air.
“The bles-sed pre-cious! Did mother getpowder on your old yellowy hair? Stand up now,and say — How-de-do.” -Daisy
“Yes,” admitted the child calmly. “AuntJordan’s got on a white dress too.” “How do you like mother’s friends?”Daisy turned her around so that shefaced Gatsby. “Do you think they’repretty?”
“But it’s so hot,” insisted Daisy, on theverge of tears, “and everything’s soconfused. Let’s all go to town!” Her voice struggled on through theheat, beating against it, molding itssenselessness into forms.
“She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked.“It’s full of ——” I hesitated. “Her voice is full of money,” he saidsuddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. Itwas full of money — that was the inexhaustiblecharm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, thecymbals’ song of it. . . . high in a white palacethe king’s daughter, the golden girl. . . .
With an effort Wilson left the shade andsupport of the doorway and, breathing hard,unscrewed the cap of the tank. In the sunlighthis face was green.
There is no confusion like the confusion ofa simple mind, and as we drove away Tom wasfeeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and hismistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate,were slipping precipitately from his control.Instinct made him step on the accelerator withthe double purpose of overtaking Daisy andleaving Wilson behind, and we sped alongtoward Astoria at fifty miles an hour, until,among the spidery girders of the elevated, wecame in sight of the easy-going blue coupe.
“Self-control!” Repeated Tomincredulously. “I suppose the latest thing is to sitback and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere makelove to your wife. Well, if that’s the idea you cancount me out. . . . Nowadays people begin bysneering at family life and family institutions,and next they’ll throw everything overboard andhave intermarriage between black and white.”
It passed, and he began to talk excitedly toDaisy, denying everything, defending his nameagainst accusations that had not been made.But with every word she was drawing furtherand further into herself, so he gave that up, andonly the dead dream fought on as the afternoonslipped away, trying to touch what was nolonger tangible, struggling unhappily,undespairingly, toward that lost voice across theroom.
The “death car.” as the newspapers called it, didn’tstop; it came out of the gathering darkness,wavered tragically for a moment, and thendisappeared around the next bend. Michaeliswasn’t even sure of its color — he told the firstpoliceman that it was light green. The other car, theone going toward New York, came to rest a hundredyards beyond, and its driver hurried back to whereMyrtle Wilson, her life violently extinguished, kneltin the road and mingled her thick dark blood withthe dust.
“It was a yellow car,” he said, “big yellow car. New.”
I hadn’t gone twenty yards when I heard myname and Gatsby stepped from between twobushes into the path. I must have felt prettyweird by that time, because I could think ofnothing except the luminosity of his pink suitunder the moon.