Francis Scott Fitzgerald

The Beautiful and Damned

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    He returned to America in 1912 because of one of his grandfather's sudden illnesses, and after an excessively tiresome talk with the perpetually convalescent old man he decided to put off until his grandfather's death the idea of living permanently abroad
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    bovine eyes, and her over-red lips,
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    "I belong here," she murmured, "I'm like these people."
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    She was short rather than small, and hovered audaciously between plumpness and width. Her hair was black and elaborately arranged.
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    Suppose, for instance, I have more wisdom than you, and less talent. It would tend to make me inarticulate. You, on the contrary, have enough water to fill the pail and a big enough pail to hold the water."
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    The other girl was obviously a more subtle personality. She was an exquisitely dressed Jewess with dark hair and a lovely milky pallor. She seemed shy and vague, and these two qualities accentuated a rather delicate charm that floated about her.
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    "On the contrary. When a man speaks he's merely tradition. He has at best a few thousand years back of him. But woman, why, she is the miraculous mouthpiece of posterity."
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    She was a sun, radiant, growing, gathering light and storing it—then after an eternity pouring it forth in a glance, the fragment of a sentence, to that part of him that cherished all beauty and all illusion.
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    "Oh, yes, but you see Bilphism isn't a religion. It's the science of all religions."
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    People told her constantly that she was a "vampire," and she believed them.
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    Murderous! Oh, God! one minute it's my world, and the next I'm the world's fool. To-day it's my world and everything's easy, easy. Even Nothing is easy!"
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    Your life on earth will be, as always, the interval between two significant glances in a mundane mirror.
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    A FLASH-BACK IN PARADISE
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    Intelligence is little more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the infinite achievements of Circumstances.
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    There's only one lesson to be learned from life, anyway," interrupted
    Gloria, not in contradiction but in a sort of melancholy agreement.
    "What's that?" demanded Maury sharply.
    "That there's no lesson to be learned from life."
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    now and then there was a slow warm rain, too indolent, almost, to reach the ground
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    Under the gathering twilight the town was unexpectedly attractive
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    Amazingly the train halted along the dark countryside, from time to time indulging in short, deceitful movements backward or forward, and whistling harsh paeans into the high October night
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    It was a warm night—a sheet was enough for comfort—and through his wide-open windows came sound, evanescent and summery, alive with remote anticipation
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    Again she had made a magic, subtle and pervading as a spilt perfume, irresistible and sweet
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