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TENDER IS THE NIGHT

by: F. Scott Fitzgerald


Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.

Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.

Good manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have to be handled with gloves. Now, human respect--you don't call a man a coward or a liar lightly, but if you spend your life sparing people's feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can't distinguish what should be respected in them.

England was like a rich man after a disastrous orgy who makes up to the household by chatting with them individually, when it is obvious to them that he is only trying to get back his self-respect in order to usurp his former power.

To be included in Dick Diver’s world for a while was a remarkable experience: people believed he made special reservations about them, recognizing the proud uniqueness of their destinies, buried under the compromises of how many years. He won everyone quickly with an exquisite consideration and a politeness that moved so fast and intuitively that it could be examined only in its effect. Then, without caution, lest the first bloom of the relation wither, he opened the gate to his amusing world. So long as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his preoccupation, but at the first flicker of doubt as to its all-inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little communicable memory of what he had said or done.

Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil. For her sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed the round belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at Five-and-Tens on Christmas Eve; half-breed Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new tractors—these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole, and as the whole system swayed and thundered onward it lent a feverish bloom to such processes of hers as wholesale buying, like a flush of a fireman’s face holding his post before a spreading blaze. She illustrated very simple principles, containing in herself her own doom, but illustrated them so accurately that there was grace in the procedure, and presently Rosemary would try to imitate it.

You're the only girl I've seen for a very long time that actually did look like something blooming.

He knew that there was passion there, but there was no shadow of it in her eyes or on her mouth; there was a faint spray of champagne on her breath. She clung nearer desperately and once more he kissed her and was chilled by the innocence of her kiss, by the glance that at the moment of contact looked beyond him out into the darkness of the night, the darkness of the world.

She only cherishes her illness as an instrument of power.

We were just like lovers--and then all at once we were lovers--and ten minutes after it happened I could have shot myself--except I guess I'm such a Goddamned degenerate I didn't have the nerve to do it.

All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a great gust of high explosive love.

A woman never knows
What a good man she's got
Till after she turns him down.

We own you, and you'll admit it sooner or later. It is absurd to keep up the pretense of independence.

To explain, to patch--these were not natural functions at their age--better to continue with the cracked echo of an old truth in the ears.

I like France, where everybody thinks he’s Napoleon—down here everybody thinks he’s Christ.

When people are taken out of their depths they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they put up.

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