NICK: Daisy, that’s untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose. I’m... (Daisy is immediately distracted by what she hears in the corridor. She gets up, throws her napkin on the table and excuses herself and exits.) NICK: (after a moment to Jordan) Is she...? JORDAN: Sh! (She listens to what is happening outside the room. Nick waits.) NICK: This Mr. Gatsby you spoke of is my neighbour. JORDAN: Don’t talk. I want to hear what happens. NICK: Is something happening? JORDAN: You mean to say you don’t know? I thought everybody knew. NICK: I don’t. I mean I only moved here a few months ago. JORDAN: Why, Tom’s got some woman in New York. NICK: Got some woman? (Jordan nods.) JORDAN: She might have the decency not to telephone him at dinner time. Don’t you think? (She listens for a while longer.) I think they must have gone upstairs. Let’s go out on the balcony. (They get up and go out.) JORDAN: So, Nick. Tell me about yourself. NICK: My family comes from the mid-west. My grandfather started a wholesale hardware business out there and the family keeps it going. I graduated from THE GREAT GATSBY page 1 / 10
New Haven in 1915 and then a while later I joined up. When I came back I was restless. The mid west seemed like the edge of the universe, so I decided to come East and learn the bond business. JORDAN: How is it you know Tom and Daisy? NICK: Daisy is my second cousin once removed... JORDAN: Yeah, that’s right. Daisy told me. NICK: And, well I also knew Tom in college. I haven’t seen them since just after the war. I spent two days with them in Chicago. JORDAN: So what do you make of them? NICK: Well. They seem to be doing very well. This place is impressive. Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay. JORDAN: Tom’s family is so enormously wealthy they can do what they like. Ask him to show you the stables. He’s got twenty polo horses and they are worth millions. NICK: Really? That’s right. He plays polo now. JORDAN: Yes but can’t ride more than one horse at a time, Nick. You know I still find it hard to think that someone of our age is wealthy enough to do that. NICK: At college it was football. They say he was one of the best. JORDAN: I bet. Come on, Nick. Tell me what you really think of them. (Silence.) NICK: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. JORDAN: What was that? NICK: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” JORDAN: Was that it? NICK: Yeah. But I knew what he meant. As a result I try to reserve all judgements. It means I’m at the mercy of not a few veteran bores. At college they said I’d make a great politician because I was privy to the secrets of wild, unknown men. I promise you I don’t go hunting people down for their secrets. Many a time I have to feign sleep, just to avoid other peoples’ secrets, or run off the moment I feel that some intimate revelation is quivering on the horizon.
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