“We can’t go on like this,” Nicole suggested. “Or can we? — what do you think?” Startled that for the moment Dick did not deny it, she continued, “some of the time I think it’s my fault — I’ve ruined you.”
Well, you can’t exactly drag your Complete Works of William Shakespeare all around the islands off Maine in the height of the summer, onto sailboats and down to docks or to beaches, however quiet. So for the season I’ve returned to Fitzgerald and to Hemingway, most of which I’ve read before, but some of which I’ve been saving for days like these. The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night seem a blithe shimmer on the water over the unfathomable Gatsby. But here are some moments from Tender I loved most.
“The chauffeur, a Russian Czar of the period of Ivan the Terrible, was a self-appointed guide, and the resplendent names — Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo — began to glow through their torpid camouflage, whispering of old kings come here to dine or die, of rajahs tossing Buddha’s eyes to English ballerinas, of Russian princes turning the weeks into Baltic twilights in the lost caviare days.”
“So I’m ruined, am I?” he inquired pleasantly.
“I didn’t mean that. But you used to want to create things — Now you seem to want to smash them up.”
One of the girls hoisted her skirt suddenly, pulled and ripped at her pink step-ins and tore them to a sizable flag; then, screaming “Ben! Ben!” she waved it wildly. As Tommy and Nicole left the room it still fluttered against the blue sky. Oh, say can you see the tender color of remembered flesh? — while at the stern of the battleship arose in rivalry the Star-Spangled Banner.”