“This Schedule In Effect July 5th, 1922” — The Great Gatsby’s House Guests

In Chapter 4 of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway recounts the names of the rich, shallow, parasitic guests who attended Gatsby’s parties. Nick tells us the list comes from “an old time-table” of names he originally recorded in July 5th—significantly, the day after Independence Day: the day after the hopes and dreams of a new country. From the chapter—-

Once I wrote down on the empty spaces of a time-table the names of those who came to Gatsby’s house that summer. It is an old time-table now, disintegrating at its folds, and headed “This schedule in effect July 5th, 1922.” But I can still read the gray names, and they will give you a better impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.

From East Egg, then, came the Chester Beckers and the Leeches, and a man named Bunsen, whom I knew at Yale, and Doctor Webster Civet, who was drowned last summer up in Maine. And the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires, and a whole clan named Blackbuck, who always gathered in a corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near. And the Ismays and the Chrysties (or rather Hubert Auerbach and Mr. Chrystie’s wife), and Edgar Beaver, whose hair, they say, turned cotton-white one winter afternoon for no good reason at all.

Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. He came only once, in white knickerbockers, and had a fight with a bum named Etty in the garden. From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O. R. P. Schraeders, and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia, and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the gravel drive that Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s automobile ran over his right hand. The Dancies came, too, and S. B. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink, and the Hammerheads, and Beluga the tobacco importer, and Beluga’s girls.

From West Egg came the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the state senator and Newton Orchid, who controlled Films Par Excellence, and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartze (the son) and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies in one way or another. And the Catlips and the Bembergs and G. Earl Muldoon, brother to that Muldoon who afterward strangled his wife. Da Fontano the promoter came there, and Ed Legros and James B. (“Rot-Gut.”) Ferret and the De Jongs and Ernest Lilly — they came to gamble, and when Ferret wandered into the garden it meant he was cleaned out and Associated Traction would have to fluctuate profitably next day.

A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as “the boarder.”— I doubt if he had any other home. Of theatrical people there were Gus Waize and Horace O’donavan and Lester Meyer and George Duckweed and Francis Bull. Also from New York were the Chromes and the Backhyssons and the Dennickers and Russel Betty and the Corrigans and the Kellehers and the Dewars and the Scullys and S. W. Belcher and the Smirkes and the young Quinns, divorced now, and Henry L. Palmetto, who killed himself by jumping in front of a subway train in Times Square.

Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls. They were never quite the same ones in physical person, but they were so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed they had been there before. I have forgotten their names — Jaqueline, I think, or else Consuela, or Gloria or Judy or June, and their last names were either the melodious names of flowers and months or the sterner ones of the great American capitalists whose cousins, if pressed, they would confess themselves to be.

In addition to all these I can remember that Faustina O’brien came there at least once and the Baedeker girls and young Brewer, who had his nose shot off in the war, and Mr. Albrucksburger and Miss Haag, his fiancee, and Ardita Fitz-Peters and Mr. P. Jewett, once head of the American Legion, and Miss Claudia Hip, with a man reputed to be her chauffeur, and a prince of something, whom we called Duke, and whose name, if I ever knew it, I have forgotten.

All these people came to Gatsby’s house in the summer.

6 thoughts on ““This Schedule In Effect July 5th, 1922” — The Great Gatsby’s House Guests”

  1. Reading the proper names is hilarious. Too bad that Scott and Edward Gorey couldn’t have done an illustrated book together.
    The party seems somewhere between Charles Adams and Edward Gorey, with screenplay by David Lynch, where the suspense builds but nothing really happens. I never realized what a send up Fitzgerald was. It’s too bad the Hollywood take has been pompous.

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  2. This is such a masterful part of the book. I remember reading the book for the first time and feeling that sense of dread you get when you come upon a list in literature. Usually, they are full of stuff the author wanted to say that means nothing to the reader, but this list is somehow so vibrant and seems to tell the whole story. It really shows the Fitzgerald’s great skill.

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  3. Thought of this list when I came across this list of wedding guests found in Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron. Many of the names are familiar to anyone who has spent time in Virginia, the hermetic quality of the social echelon, and the times:

    Almost everyone had come; they spilled out in to the dining room, both hallways, both side porches and – because it had become fairly warm – onto the lawn. There was Admiral Ernest Lovelace, who was the naval inspector at the shipyard; he had lost his wife in an automobile accident two years ago. Thre wer the Muncys and the Cuthberts and the Hegertys. All three men were executives in the shipyard. Old Carter Houston himself was there, along with his wife, who remained a Virginia belle at the aged of seventy and pronounced Carter “Cyatah”; these two sat in one corner and everyone paid court to them, for he was head of the shipyard. There were the Appletons and the La Farges and the Fauntleroy Mayos, who were F.F.V.’s; and the Martin Braunstiens, who were Jews, but who had been around long enough to be accepted as Virginians. Then there ewas a contingent of doctors and their wives – Doctors Holcomb and Schmidt and J. E. B. Sturt and Lonergan and Bulwinkle (they all smelled faintly of ether)—and there was Dr. Pruitt Delaplane, making his first heistant public appearance after his trial and acquittal for criminal abortion. There were poor Medwick Ames, and his wife, — who threw fits – and the Overman Stubbes and Commander and Mrs. Phillips Kinderman.

    Among the younger people were the Walker Stuarts and the P. Moncure Yourtees and George and Gerda Rhoads, who were, everyone knew, on the verge of divorce, and a men’s clothing dealer named “Cherry” Pye. The Blevinses had come, and the Cappses and the John J. Maloneys. Also the Davises and the Younghusbands and the Hill Massies, who had once won ten thousand dollars in a slogan contest; and a dentist named Monroe Hobbie, who limped. Those among the youngest group – most of the boys in uniform – were Polly Pearson and Muriel West and a willowy boy named Campbell Fleet who, it was generally rumored, had been expelled from Hampden-Sydney College for homosexuality; and the wealthy Abbot sisters – they were beautiful and blonde, and their father had made a fortune in Coca-Cola – and Jill Fothergill, who had arrived with Dave Taylor, and Gerald Fitzhugh. Aston Bryce was in this group, and a fat boy named Chalmers Winsted, who had flunked out of Princeton, and Bruce Horner. These three were all in naval uniforms, as was Packy Chewning, who was a lieutenant (j.g.) and had won the Navy Cross in the Solomons.

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