Later that afternoon, I met Jordan Baker at the Plaza Hotel. After tea, she told me that Gatsby had known Daisy. They had known each other in the Middle West, five years before.
'Daisy and I grew up in the same town,' Jordan began. 'In 1917, Daisy was eighteen. She was the most beautiful and the most popular girl in Louisville. Her family was very rich. Daisy always dressed in white and she had a little white car. She went out with all the young officers. The telephone in her house rang all day long.
'One day in October, 1 was walking past Daisy's house. Daisy was sitting in her car with an officer I hadn't seen before. They were so busy talking that they didn't see me. But I remember the way the young officer looked at Daisy. To him, she was the most beautiful thing in the world.
'About a month later, Daisy's mother found her packing her bag to go to New York. Daisy wanted to say goodbye to an officer who was going overseas. Her family stopped her, of course.'
'Was the officer Gatsby?' I asked.
'Of course,' said Jordan. 'Daisy was sad for a time and didn't go out much. By the following autumn, she was gay again. In February, she got engaged to a young man from New Orleans. But in June, she married Tom Buchanan from Chicago. It was the biggest wedding our town had ever seen.'
'Were you there?' I asked.
'I was a bridesmaid41,' Jordan said. 'On the day before the wedding, Tom gave Daisy some pearls, worth 350000 dollars. That evening, Daisy's family was giving a big dinner.
'Half an hour before the dinner started, I went up in Daisy's room,' Jordan went on. 'The pearls were on thedoor. Daisy was lying on the bed with a bottle of wine in one hand and a letter in the other. She was very drunk.
'Never had a drink before,' Daisy said, 'hut how I enjoy it!' She picked up the pearls and said, "Here, take them downstairs. Tell them Daisy's changed her mind." Then she began to cry. She cried and cried. I found her mother's maid and we got Daisy into a cold bath. The letter in her hand came to pieces in the water. Half an hour later, Daisy walked downstairs. She looked very beautiful and the pearls were round her neck.
'Next day, Daisy married Tom Buchanan and they went ontheir honeymoon. I met them again when they came back. I've never seen a girl so in love with her husband. That was in August.
'A week later, Tom crashed his car. The girl with him broke her arm and the story got into the papers. The girl was a maid from the hotel.
'The following April, Daisy had a baby girl and the family went to France for a year. Then they went back to Chicago.
'Well, about six weeks ago, I asked you about Gatsby,' Jordan went on. 'Daisy heard me. She knew he was the same man she had known in Louisville.'
'It's strange that Gatsby came East, too,' I said.
'But it isn't strange at all,' Jordan replied. 'Gatsby came here to be near Daisy. He can see her house across the bay.'
Then there was a reason for all those parties. Gatsby had hoped that one evening, Daisy would walk into his house.
'Gatsby wants you to do something for him,' Jordan wassaying. 'He wants you to invite Daisy to tea. Then he'll call in,too. He wants to show Daisy his house.'
I thought for a moment. Gatsby wasn't asking very much. He had waited five years. He had given big parties to strangers. And why? To see Daisy, one afternoon, at tea.
'Does Daisy want to meet Gatsby again?' I asked.
'Oh, she doesn't know about it,' Jordan answered. 'Gatsby wants it to be a surprise.'
It was dark outside by now. I asked Jordan out to dinner and we took a taxi. It was a beautiful night.
I had heard enough about Daisy and Gatsby.
I put my arm around Jordan, looked into her grey eyes and kissed her.