Into the dark, smoky restaurant, smelling of the rich raw foods on the buffet, slid Nicole’s sky-blue suit like a stray segment of the weather outside. Seeing from their eyes how beautiful she was, she thanked them with a smile of radiant appreciation. They were all very nice people for a while, very courteous and all that. Then they grew tired of it and they were funny and bitter, and finally they made a lot of plans. They laughed at things that they would not remember clearly afterward—laughed a lot and the men drank three bottles of wine. The trio of women at the table were representative of the enormous flux of American life. Nicole was the granddaughter of a self-made American capitalist and the granddaughter of a Count of the House of Lippe Weissenfeld. Mary North was the daughter of a journeyman paper-hanger and a descendant of President Tyler. Rosemary was from the middle of the middle class, catapulted by her mother onto the uncharted heights of Hollywood.
Their point of resemblance to each other and their difference from so many American women, lay in the fact that they were all happy to exist in a man’s world—they preserved their individuality through men and not by opposition to them. They would all three have made alternatively good courtesans or good wives not by the accident of birth but through the greater accident of finding their man or not finding him.
So Rosemary found it a pleasant party, that luncheon, nicer in that
there were only seven people, about the limit of a good party. Perhaps,
too, the fact that she was new to their world acted as a sort of
catalytic agent to precipitate out all their old reservations about one
another. After the table broke up, a waiter directed Rosemary back into
the dark hinterland of all French restaurants, where she looked up a
phone number by a dim orange bulb, and called Franco-American Films.
Sure, they had a print of “Daddy’s Girl”—it was out for the moment, but
they would run it off later in the week for her at 341 Rue des Saintes
—ask for Mr. Crowder.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender Is The Night