This Side of Paradise
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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THIS SIDE OF PARADISE


By F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

There's little comfort in the wise. Rupert Brooke.

Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes.
Oscar Wilde.

To SIGOURNEY FAY


BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

CONTENTS

BOOK ONE: The Romantic Egotist
1. AMORY, SON OF BEATRICE
2. SPIRES AND GARGOYLES
3. THE EGOTIST CONSIDERS
4. NARCISSUS OFF DUTY

[INTERLUDE:MAY, 1917-FEBRUARY, 1919.]

BOOK TWO: The Education of a Personage
1. THE DIBUTANTE
2. EXPERIMENTS IN CONVALESCENCE
3. YOUNG IRONY
4. THE SUPERCILIOUS SACRIFICE
5. THE EGOTIST BECOMES A PERSONAGE



BOOK ONE
The Romantic Egotist

CHAPTER 1
Amory, Son of Beatrice




AMORY BLAINE inherited from his mother every trait, except the
stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while. His father,
an ineffectual, inarticulate man with a taste for Byron and a
habit of drowsing over the Encyclopedia Britannica, grew wealthy
at thirty through the death of two elder brothers, successful
Chicago brokers, and in the first flush of feeling that the world
was his, went to Bar Harbor and met Beatrice O'Hara. In
consequence, Stephen Blaine handed down to posterity his height
of just under six feet and his tendency to waver at crucial
moments, these two abstractions appearing in his son Amory. For
many years he hovered in the background of his family's life, an
unassertive figure with a face half-obliterated by lifeless,
silky hair, continually occupied in "taking care" of his wife,
continually harassed by the idea that he didn't and couldn't
understand her.
But Beatrice Blaine! There was a woman! Early pictures taken on
her father's estate at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or in Rome at the
Sacred Heart Conventan educational extravagance that in her youth
was only for the daughters of the exceptionally wealthy showed
the
exquisite delicacy of her features, the consummate art and
simplicity of her clothes. A brilliant education she had her
youth
passed in renaissance glory, she was versed in the latest gossip
of the Older Roman Families; known by name as a fabulously
wealthy American girl to Cardinal Vitori and Queen Margherita and
more subtle celebrities that one must have had some culture even
to have heard of. She learned in England to prefer whiskey and
soda to wine, and her small talk was broadened in two senses
during a winter in Vienna. All in all Beatrice O'Hara absorbed
the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a
tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be
contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all arts
and traditions, barren of all ideas, in the last of those days
when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one
perfect bud.
In her less important moments she returned to America, met
Stephen Blaine and married him this almost entirely because she
was a little bit weary, a little bit sad. Her only child was
carried through a tiresome season and brought into the world on a
spring day in ninety-six.
When Amory was five he was already a delightful companion for
her. He was an auburn-haired boy, with great, handsome eyes which
he would grow up to in time, a facile imaginative mind and a
taste for fancy dress. From his fourth to his tenth year he did
the country with his mother in her father's private car, from
Coronado, where his mother became so bored that she had a nervous
breakdown in a fashionable hotel, down to Mexico City, where she
took a mild, almost epidemic consumption. This trouble pleased
her, and later she made use of it as an intrinsic part of her
atmosphere especially after several astounding bracers.
So, while more or less fortunate little rich boys were defying
governesses on the beach at Newport, or being spanked or tutored
or read to from "Do and Dare," or "Frank on the Mississippi,"
Amory was biting acquiescent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing
a natural repugnance to chamber music and symphonies, and
deriving a highly specialized education from his mother.
"Amory."
"Yes, Beatrice." (Such a quaint name for his mother; she
encouraged it.)
"Dear, don't think of getting out of bed yet. I've always
suspected that early rising in early life makes one nervous.
Clothilde is having your breakfast brought up."
"All right."
"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she would sigh, her face a
rare cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands
as facile as Bernhardt's. "My nerves are on edge on edge. We must
leave this terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for
sunshine."
Amory's penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled
hair at his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about
her.
"Amory."
"Oh, yes."
"I want you to take a red-hot bath as hot as you can bear it, and
just relax your nerves. You can read in the tub if you wish."
She fed him sections of the "Fjtes Galantes" before he was ten;
at eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of
Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven. One afternoon, when left alone
in the hotel at Hot Springs, he sampled his mother's apricot
cordial, and as the taste pleased him, he became quite tipsy.
This was fun for a while, but he essayed a cigarette in his
exaltation, and succumbed to a vulgar, plebeian reaction. Though