“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.”
Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.
It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five time in life. It face – or seemed to face – the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
“Anyhow, he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urban distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home.
Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.
So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.
He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously – eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand.
He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.
But I wanted to leave things in order and not just trust that obliging and indifferent sea to sweep my refuse away.
“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.”
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed things up and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…