Gatsby’s Car, Chapter 4“It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel,swollen here and there in its monstrous lengthwith triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxesand tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth ofwind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sittingdown behind many layers of glass in a sort ofgreen leather conservatory, we started to town.”
“Well, this would interest you. It wouldn’t takeup much of your time and you might pick up a nicebit of money. It happens to be a rather confidentialsort of thing.” I realize now that under different circumstancesthat conversation might have been one of the crisesof my life. But, because the offer was obviously andtactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choiceexcept to cut him off there. “I’ve got my hands full,” I said. “I’m muchobliged but I couldn’t take on any more work.”
“The flowers were unnecessary, for at twoo’clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby’s, withinnumerable receptacles to contain it. An hourlater the front door opened nervously, andGatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, andgold-colored tie, hurried in. He was pale, andthere were dark signs of sleeplessness beneathhis eyes.”
Under the dripping bare lilac-trees a largeopen car was coming up the drive. It stopped.Daisy’s face, tipped sideways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with abright ecstatic smile. “Is this absolutely where you live, my dearestone?” The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wildtonic in the rain. I had to follow the sound of it for amoment, up and down, with my ear alone, beforeany words came through. A damp streak of hair laylike a dash of blue paint across her cheek, and herhand was wet with glistening drops as I took it tohelp her from the car.
“Well, that’s funny,” I exclaimed. “What’s funny?” She turned her head as there was a lightdignified knocking at the front door. I went out andopened it. Gatsby, pale as death, with his handsplunged like weights in his coat pockets, wasstanding in a puddle of water glaring tragically intomy eyes. With his hands still in his coat pockets hestalked by me into the hall, turned sharply as if hewere on a wire, and disappeared into the living-room. It wasn’t a bit funny. Aware of the loudbeating of my own heart I pulled the door to againstthe increasing rain.
“We’ve met before,” muttered Gatsby. Hiseyes glanced momentarily at me, and his lipsparted with an abortive attempt at a laugh.Luckily the clock took this moment to tiltdangerously at the pressure of his head,whereupon he turned and caught it withtrembling fingers, and set it back in place.
“Don’t give it another thought, oldsport.” The familiar expression held nomore familiarity than the hand whichreassuringly brushed my shoulder. (Ch.3)“old sport”
“It’s stopped raining.” “Has it?” When he realized what I wastalking about, that there were twinkle-bells ofsunshine in the room, he smiled like a weatherman, like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light,and repeated the news to Daisy. “What do youthink of that? It’s stopped raining.” “I’m glad, Jay.” Her throat, full of aching,grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy.
He took out a pile of shirts and began throwingthem, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen andthick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as theyfell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. Whilewe admired he brought more and the soft rich heapmounted higher — shirts with stripes and scrolls andplaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faintorange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with astrained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts andbegan to cry stormily. “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, hervoice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad becauseI’ve never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.”
“If it wasn’t for the mist we could see yourhome across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You alwayshave a green light that burns all night at the end ofyour dock.” Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, buthe seemed absorbed in what he had just said.Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossalsignificance of that light had now vanished forever.Compared to the great distance that had separatedhim from Daisy it had seemed very near to her,almost touching her. It had seemed as close as astar to the moon. Now it was again a green light ona dock. His count of enchanted objects haddiminished by one.
“Come here quick!” cried Daisy at thewindow. The rain was still falling, but the darknesshad parted in the west, and there was a pinkand golden billow of foamy clouds above thesea. “Look at that,” she whispered, and thenafter a moment: “I’d like to just get one of thosepink clouds and put you in it and push youaround.”