Friday, March 8, 2013

"Don't come in," he murmured wanly,

   Gloria and Dick came in at five and called his name. There was no answer—they went into the living room and found a chair with its back smashed lying in the doorway, and they noticed that all about the room there was a sort of disorder—the rugs had slid, the pictures and bric-à-brac were upset upon the centre table. The air was sickly sweet with cheap perfume.

   They found Anthony sitting in a patch of sunshine on the floor of his bedroom. Before him, open, were spread his three big stamp-books, and when they entered he was running his hands through a great pile of stamps that he had dumped from the back of one of them. Looking up and seeing Dick and Gloria he put his head critically on one side and motioned them back.

  "Anthony!" cried Gloria tensely, "we've won! They reversed the decision!"

  "Don't come in," he murmured wanly, "you'll muss them. I'm sorting, and I know know you'll step in them. Everything always gets mussed."

   "What are you doing?" demanded Dick in astonishment. "Going back to childhood? Don't you realize you've won the suit? They've reversed the decision of the lower courts. You're worth thirty millions!"

   Anthony only looked at him reproachfully.

   "Shut the door when you go out." He spoke like a pert child.

   With a faint horror dawning in her eyes, Gloria gazed at him—

   "Anthony!" she cried, "what is it? What's the matter? Why didn't you come—why, what is it?"

   "See here," said Anthony softly, "you two get out—now, both of you. Or else I'll tell my grandfather."

   He held up a handful of stamps and let them come drifting down about him like leaves, varicolored and bright, turning and fluttering gaudily upon the sunny air: stamps of England and Ecuador, Venezuela and SpainItaly….


F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1922.

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