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great-gatsby-f.-scott-fitzgerald(英文原版)-第3章

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ements stood up into the room。
  “I’m stiff;” she plained; “I’ve been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember。”
  “Don’t look at me;” Daisy retorted; “I’ve been trying to get you to New York all afternoon。”
  “No; thanks;” said Miss Baker to the four cocktails just in from the pantry; “I’m absolutely in training。”
  Her host looked at her incredulously。
  “You are!” He took down his drink as if it were a drop in the bottom of a glass。 “How you ever get anything done is beyond me。”
  I looked at Miss Baker; wondering what it was she “got done。” I enjoyed looking at her。 She was a slender; smallbreasted girl; with an erect carriage; which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet。 Her gray sunstrained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan; charming; discontented face。 It occurred to me now that I had seen her; or a picture of her; somewhere before。
  “You live in West Egg;” she remarked contemptuously。 “I know somebody there。”
  “I don’t know a single——”
  “You must know Gatsby。”
  “Gatsby?” demanded Daisy。 “What Gatsby?”
  Before I could reply that he was my neighbor dinner was announced; wedging his tense arm imperatively under mine; Tom Buchanan pelled me from the room as though he were moving a checker to another square。
  Slenderly; languidly; their hands set lightly on their hips; the two young women preceded us out onto a rosycolored porch; open toward the sunset; where four candles flickered on the table in the diminished wind。
  “Why CANDLES?” objected Daisy; frowning。 She snapped them out with her fingers。 “In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year。” She looked at us all radiantly。 “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it。”
  “We ought to plan something;” yawned Miss Baker; sitting down at the table as if she were getting into bed。
  “All right;” said Daisy。 “What’ll we plan?” She turned to me helplessly: “What do people plan?”
  Before I could answer her eyes fastened with an awed expression on her little finger。
  “Look!” she plained; “I hurt it。”
  We all looked—the knuckle was black and blue。
  “You did it; Tom;” she said accusingly。 “I know you didn’t mean to; but you DID do it。 That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man; a great; big; hulking physical specimen of a——”
  “I hate that word hulking;” objected Tom crossly; “even in kidding。”
  “Hulking;” insisted Daisy。
  Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once; unobtrusively and with a bantering inconsequence that was never quite chatter; that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire。 They were here; and they accepted Tom and me; making only a polite pleasant effort to entertain or to be entertained。 They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casually put away。 It was sharply different from the West; where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close; in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself。
  “You make me feel uncivilized; Daisy;” I confessed on my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret。 “Can’t you talk about crops or something?”
  I meant nothing in particular by this remark; but it was taken up in an unexpected way。
  “Civilization’s going to pieces;” broke out Tom violently。 “I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things。 Have you read ‘The Rise of the Colored Empires’ by this man Goddard?”
  “Why; no;” I answered; rather surprised by his tone。
  “Well; it’s a fine book; and everybody ought to read it。 The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged。 It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved。”
  “Tom’s getting very profound;” said Daisy; with an expression of unthoughtful sadness。 “He reads deep books with long words in them。 What was that word we——”
  “Well; these books are all scientific;” insisted Tom; glancing at her impatiently。 “This fellow has worked out the whole thing。 It’s up to us; who are the dominant race; to watch out or these other races will have control of things。”
  “We’ve got to beat them down;” whispered Daisy; winking ferociously toward the fervent sun。
  “You ought to live in California—” began Miss Baker; but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair。
   “This idea is that we’re Nordics。 I am; and you are; and you are; and——” After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod; and she winked at me again。 “—And we’ve produced all the things that go to make civilization—oh; science and art; and all that。 Do you see?”
  There was something pathetic in his concentration; as if his placency; more acute than of old; was not enough to him any more。 When; almost immediately; the telephone rang inside and the butler left the porch Daisy seized upon the momentary interruption and leaned toward me。
  “I’ll tell you a family secret;” she whispered enthusiastically。 “It’s about the butler’s nose。 Do you want to hear about the butler’s nose?”
  “That’s why I came over tonight。”
  “Well; he wasn’t always a butler; he used to be the silver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people。 He had to polish it from morning till night; until finally it began to affect his nose——”
  “Things went from bad to worse;” suggested Miss Baker。
  “Yes。 Things went from bad to worse; until finally he had to give up his position。”
  For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice pelled me forward breathlessly as I listened—then the glow faded; each light deserting her with lingering regret; like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk。
  The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom’s ear; whereupon Tom frowned; pushed back his chair; and without a word went inside。 As if his absence quickened something within her; Daisy leaned forward again; her voice glowing and singing。
  “I love to see you at my table; Nick。 You remind me of a—of a rose; an absolute rose。 Doesn’t he?” She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation: “An absolute rose?”
  This was untrue。 I am not even faintly like a rose。 She was only extemporizing; but a stirring warmth flowed from her; as if her heart was trying to e out to you concealed in one of those breathless; thrilling words。 Then suddenly she threw her napkin on the table and excused herself and went into the house。
  Miss Baker and I exchanged a short glance consciously devoid of meaning。 I was about to speak when she sat up alertly and said “Sh!” in a warning voice。 A subdued impassioned murmur was audible in the room beyond; and Miss Baker leaned forward unashamed; trying to hear。 The murmur trembled on the verge of coherence; sank down; mounted excitedly; and then ceased altogether。
  “This Mr。 Gatsby you spoke of is my neighbor——” I said。
  “Don’t talk。 I want to hear what happens。”
  “Is something happening?” I inquired innocently。
  “You mean to say you don’t know?” said Miss Baker; honestly surprised。 “I thought everybody knew。”
  “I don’t。”
  “Why——” she said hesitantly; “Tom’s got some woman in New York。”
  “Got some woman?” I repeated blankly。
  Miss Baker nodded。
  “She might have the decency not to telephone him at dinner time。 Don’t you think?”
  Almost before I had grasped her meaning there was the flutter of a dress and the crunch of leather boots; and Tom and Daisy were back at the table。
  “It couldn’t be helped!” cried Daisy with tense gaiety。
  She sat down; glanced searchingly at Miss Baker and then at me; and continued: “I looked outdoors for a minute; and it’s very romantic outdoors。 There’s a bird on the lawn that I think must be a nightingale e over on the Cunard or White Star Line。 He’s singing away——” Her voice sang: “It’s romantic; isn’t
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