Vol. 17 No. 1 1950 - page 31

ty and its obviously careful comments on the book, must have meant
more than any of them to him, for Mrs. Wharton was a remote and
awful figure to the young rebels of Paris.
When it turned out that Mrs. Wharton wanted them to come to
the PavilIon Colombe for tea, Fitzgerald was flattered and ready to
throw himself once more at the feet of the author of
Ethan Frome.
When the day arrived Zelda in her simpler and more consistent way
said she was damned if she would go forty or fifty miles from Paris
just to let an exceedingly proper and curious old lady stare at her
and Scott and probably make them feel provincial and uncomfort–
able. Fitzgerald therefore went alone, full of trepidation and secretly,
perhaps, suspecting Zelda might be right. All the way out he kept
stopping to fortify himself, and bit by bit he became determined not
to be put down. Doubtless all his feelings of inferiority as a middle
westerner, as a product of the lower middle class, and as a member of
the younger generation began to work. In any event, he was scarcely
settled for tea with Mrs. Wharton and the few guests she had gathered
to make the occasion easier, than he set out to show them all that he
was not cowed; he must have been convinced that they were all in
a conspiracy to snub him. The talk went something like this.
"Mrs. Wharton," Fitzgerald demanded, "do you know what's
the matter with you?"
"No, Mr. Fitzgerald, I've often wondered about that. What is
"You don't know anything about life," Fitzgerald roared, .and then,
determined to shock and impress them, "Why, when my wife and I
first came to Paris we took a room in a bordello! And we lived there
for two weeks!"
Instead, however, of the horrified responses he had expected,
Fitzgerald suddenly realized, Mrs. Wharton and her guests were all
looking at him with unfeigned and perfectly sincere interest. The
bombshell had fizzled; he had lied outrageously, shocked himself,
and succeeded only in bringing his audience to an alert and friendly
attention. After a moment's pause Mrs. Wharton, seeming to realize
from his expression how baffled and confused Fitzgerald was, tried to
help him.
"But Mr. Fitzgerald," she said, "you haven't told us what they
did in the bordello."
1...,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30 32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,...100
Powered by FlippingBook